Georgetown wins first NCAA Division I men's championship

Virginia and Georgetown came into the Men's College Cup final with the No. 1 and No. 2 defenses, respectively, in the country, but defense went out the window in Cary on Sunday night.

The teams produced six goals -- the same as the total number of goals in the last five finals combined -- in a 3-3 tie before the match went to a shootout, where Georgetown prevailed, 7-6, for its first national championship.

Hoya freshman Tomas Romero stopped Virginia's Axel Gunnarsson in the seventh round of penalty kicks after the the first 13 attempts were all converted.

Poor defending contributed to all six goals: errant clearances on first, fourth and sixth goals, a communication mix-up on the second goal and poor marking on the third and fifth goals.

New Zealand international Joe Bell put UVa ahead in the 10th minute when a shot deflected off a Georgetown defender, but from then Hoyas took the initiative, going ahead 2-1 in the first half and then 3-2 in the 81st minute on goals by Paul Rothrock, Daniel Wu and Derek Dodson.

But Virginia star Daryl Dike evened the score with less than five minutes left in the second half when he blasted the ball into the roof of the goal from the doorstep after his first attempt on a header was stopped.

Neither team could score in the 20-minute overtime, setting up the third straight shootout for a Men's College Cup final in Cary. Virginia won the last two, beating Akron in 2009 and UCLA in 2014, but it came up short when Romero, a product of the Philadelphia Union academy, guessed right and stopped Gunnarsson's shot.

Greek Giannis Nikopolidis and Romero have alternated in goal since the first game of the season, and it was Romero's turn to start after Nikopolidis shut out Stanford, 2-0, in the semifinals.

"For some reason, I just thought, 'I think he's going to go right,'" Romero said of his shootout save. "And I just dove right and saved it."

Three of the Georgetown players who converted their penalties were subs: Aidan Rocha, Dante Polvara and Jack Beer.

In all, Hoyas coach Brian Wiese used eight players off the bench and made 27 changes in the overtime game. In the semifinals, he used eight subs and made 21 changes during the 90 minutes.

"It's gratifying when you see players take chances that they're given and do well with it," Wiese said. "It's something that has resonated with us throughout the year."

Dec. 15 in Cary, N.C.
Georgetown 3 Virginia 3 (7-6 on penalties). Goals: Rothrock 16, Wu (Hope-Gund, Riviere) 22, Dodson (Achara) 81; Bell 10, Steedman (Donasiyano) 58, Dike 86.
Georgetown -- Romero, Hope-Gund, O'Hearn, Wu, Nealis, Rothrock, Fischer, Zawadzki, Montes, Dodson, Riviere. Subs: Beer, Sands, Polvara, Achara, Lochner, Strassner, McCune, Rocha.
Virginia -- Shutler, Halsey, Kessler, Ueland, Afamefuna, Bell, Steedman, Donasiyano, Crofts, Gunnarsson, Dike. Subs: Patton, Happi Kamseu, James.
Att.: 8,413.
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