| ||CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Another year, another goal to win a
Yuri Lavrinenko is getting quite good at this.
The Indiana midfielder provided all the scoring the Hoosiers
needed Sunday to beat Santa Clara 1-0 and capture their second
consecutive NCAA soccer title.
"Winning championships, that's a dream," said Lavrinenko, the
MVP of the NCAA Final Four. "Game-winning goals and everything
else, it's secondary."
Indiana (21-3) became the first team to retain its title since
Virginia won its fourth consecutive championship in 1994. The
Hoosiers won last year's crown on a goal by Lavrinenko against
This time, Lavrinenko scored in the 30th minute. He took a short
feed from Aleksey Korol and sent a hard 15-foot roller that Rusty
Johnson could not stop.
Indiana's fifth soccer title set off a long celebration by the
Hoosiers and coach Jerry Yeagley, who was making his 10th
appearance in the championship game in 27 years with the program.
"It's just something that's indescribable, the feeling of
winning a championship, no matter if you've won one before or
not," Yeagley said.
Santa Clara (16-4-3) came up short in a bid for its first
outright title. The Broncos shared the crown with Virginia in 1989.
"I felt we really had to play our best to beat them, and I
don't think we did," Santa Clara coach Mitch Murray said.
Both teams played into quadruple overtime in Friday's
semifinals, and the effects showed Sunday. Santa Clara had three
shots on goal, one more than Indiana's total.
"There wasn't quite the energy that I would expect from a
final," Murray said. "But maybe Friday had something to do with
Indiana and Santa Clara were meeting in the title game for the
first time, but the two schools are hardly strangers on the soccer
field. Indiana defeated Santa Clara 4-0 in last year's NCAA
semifinals, the Hoosiers' first victory over the Broncos in four
The Broncos had their chances Sunday, including one in the 39th
minute when Jay Totten's blast got past Indiana goalkeeper T.J.
Hannig. As the ball sailed toward the open goal, the Hoosiers' John
Swann rushed up and headed it over the cross bar.
It was more of the same in the 70th minute when Santa Clara's
Anthony Chimienti fired a hard shot that Hannig couldn't handle.
But this time Indiana's Nick Garcia headed it off the top of the
bar and over the end line.
Garcia said the play was as important as any big goal he had
"It was just a natural reaction," he said. "I remember it
skimming off my head. I thought it went in."
Garcia, honored as the Final Four's outstanding defender, said
after the game he will skip his final season and turn pro.
The Final Four was held at 73,265-seat Ericsson Stadium for the
first time, and struggled to find many fans willing to pay $70
ticket prices for the three games.
The semifinals drew an announced crowd of 13,231, though the
actual attendance appeared to be about 8,000. It was similar on
Sunday when organizers announced a crowd of 15,439, though it
looked closer to 9,000.
|Indiana goalkeeper T.J. Hannig, right, blocks a header by Santa Clara's Shawn Percell, left, as the Broncos' Jeff Stewart closes in.|| |
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