[MEN'S COLLEGE CUP] Virginia won its first national championship in 15 years when it beat top-ranked Akron, 3-2, in a shootout after their game ended in a 0-0 draw.
The Cavs led the shootout 3-1 with two chances to put the game away, but Akron goalie David Meves stopped Jonathan Villanueva and Greg Monaco, giving the Zips new life. But Blair Gavin put the fifth attempt
over the crossbar to end the contest.
Neither team could score in 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. The closest either team came was in the fifth minute when Virginia's
Will Bates hit the post.
The title was the sixth for the Cavaliers and the first for George Gelnovatch, who
replaced Bruce Arena in 1996. Virginia's last appearance in the final came in 1997.
"I knew was only a matter of time before we won another
championship," said Gelnovatch. "In 1997, I thought we had a real good chance and lost in the finals. In 2006, we were in the College Cup and things didn't work out our way. I kept telling people,
it was not a matter of if, it was a matter of when. Today was our day."
Tony Tchani opened the shootout with a goal for Virginia and the Cavaliers
took an early advantage when Diego Restrepo stopped Akron's first kick taken by freshman Zarek Valentin.
Ari Dimas and Ben Zemanski both converted their attempts in round two, but the Cavaliers then extended
their lead to 3-1 as Sean Hiller, who came on for the shootout, made his kick and Akron's Kofi Sarkodie sent his off the post.
Monaco missed for Virginia, and Scott Caldwell converted, setting the stage for the 10th kick missed by Gavin.
"It's tough to lose that way," said
Zip coach Caleb Porter. "I'd like to credit Virginia for playing very well and putting up a good fight. They played us as tough as any team this year.
As you get closer to winning a national championship, second place hurts more. You get so close you can taste it. What makes this one even more tough is that we didn't give up a goal in the entire
NCAA Tournament, and yet we don't take home any hardware. I told the guys that they have nothing to hang their heads on. They raised the bar in my opinion. The way they played the game, I can hold
my head high knowing we did everything we could."
Akron, which also lost in its previous appearance in the final in 1986, did not give up a goal in five NCAA Tournament games. The goal
Virginia gave up late in its 2-1 win over Wake Forest in the semifinals was the only goal it allowed in its last 13 games.
Dec. 13 in Cary,
Virginia 0 Akron 0 North Carolina (Virginia wins 3-2 on penalties).
Akron -- Meves, Valentin,
Barson, Sarkodie, Korb, Gavin, Ampaipitakwong, Zemanski, Speas, Nagbe, Bunbury. Subs: Mwila, Caldwell.
Virginia -- Restrepo, Jumper, Monaco, Volk, Barry,
Barlow, LaBauex, Dimas, Villanueva, Tchani, Bates. Subs: Evans, Simpson, Ownby, Hiller.
Referee: Chico Grajedo.