Indiana Gets Past Santa Clara In Double Overtime
Dec. 12, 2003
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Indiana men's soccer team will play for a sixth NCAA Championship after defeating Santa Clara, 1-0, in double overtime Friday night at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Sophomore midfielder Pat Yates scored his seventh goal of the season in the second overtime at the 103:50 mark to clinch the win and send IU to the championship match fo the 12th time in school history.
"What can you say? It's been an unbelievable season. All our players played with heart and all (Santa Clara's) players played with heart, too," Indiana head coach Jerry Yeagley said. "A lot of guys stepped up big time in a high-pressure situation. It's a test of a championship team: can you win a tough game?"
Yates stepped up yet again for the Hoosiers. Redshirt freshman Josh Tudela flicked goalkeeper Jay Nolly's goal kick to Brian Plotkin. Plotkin played a beautiful chip pass to the left post. Yates timed his run to the post just right, lunged forward and knocked the ball into the back of the net with his head.
"I got into midfield and made a run to the net," Yates said. "I got ready to get hit pretty hard by the goalie so I flipped the ball up, but he never game and I was fortunate enough for it go to in."
The game-winner was the second straight for Yates, who scored in the 78th minute of the Hoosiers' 2-1 NCAA quarterfinal win at No. 1 UCLA last Saturday. He has four game-winning goals this season.
Indiana and Santa Clara played to a scoreless tie in the first half as both teams played well defensively.
"Our defense has been consistent since early October," Yeagley said. "I think we've only given up seven goals since early October, and tonight we played great."
Sophomore Jordan Chirico attempted IU's first shot on goal in the 36th minute, but it was saved by Santa Clara goalkeeper Kent Harkness. Harkness would go on to save a season-high six shots in the match.
The Hoosiers weathered a scary moment with just more than three minutes to play in the first half. Nolly punched out a Santa Clara corner kick that was taken by Jason Cunliffe. The ball deflected off Hoosier defender Jed Zayner's head and nailed the cross bar. It bounced directly in front of the goal and Nolly pounced on it.
IU forced Harkness to make a second save with 1:23 remaining in the half. Robson took the shot from 12-yards out on the right side.
The Hoosiers generated an extremely dangerous chance with 1:36 to play in regulation. Tudela played a nice ball ahead to freshman forward Jacob Peterson. Peterson handled it inside the 6-yard box, but lost his balance. As he was falling, he was able to get a foot on, shooting from the left side just wide right of the goal.
Jay Nolly made a remarkable save in the closing seconds of the match, on a shot that could have cost the Hoosiers the game. Santa Clara's Will Weatherly blasted a shot right on target, and Nolly tipped it with his fingertips, bobbled the ball as he fell to the ground, yet was able to knock the ball away with his left hand.
Head coach Jerry Yeagley will coach his final game at Indiana on Sunday as he has announced his retirement following the season.
"No one expected a young team in the national championship game except the players and the coaches," Yeagley said. "It's a wonderful accomplishment. "St. John's looked great tonight. We played them in a wonderful game two years ago that we won in two overtimes. I'm sure they haven't forgotten. It will be a difficult challenge for us."
IU made the championship match the last time the College Cup was held in Columbus in 2001, but fell in the championship game to North Carolina, 2-0. The Hoosiers will face their semifinal opponent from that season, the St John's Red Storm. St. John's defeated No. 2 Maryland in the other semifinal Friday, 1-0. The championship match is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN2. Tickets are still available for purchase by calling the Columbus Crew box office from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at 1-877-CREW-FAN or at any Ticketmaster outlet.