Indiana 4, Tulsa 0

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Continuing its quest for back-to-back national championships, the Indiana mens soccer team is headed to its NCAA-record 17th College Cup after storming past the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 4-0, on Yeagley Field at Armstrong Stadium Sunday. IUs record improves to 17-4-1 on the strength of four second half goals while Tulsa finishes the season at 12-7-4.

The defending national champion Hoosiers played to a scoreless first half with the Hurricane, but the wheels began to turn in the second half as a surge of offense put the game beyond doubt. Despite the offensive barrage by the Hoosiers, the real story was IUs relentless defense. The play of M.A.C. Hermann Trophy semifinalists Danny ORourke and Drew Moor along with the sophomore duo of Jed Zayner and Julian Dieterle did a number on the Tulsa attack.

The Golden Hurricane entered the match ranked 13th in the country at 2.23 goals per game, but were shutout for only the fourth time this season. Junior forward Ryan Pore was held scoreless as well after entering the match as the nations leading scorer with 55 points. He was held to three shots, none of which came on net.

Junior midfielder Jordan Chirico opened the scoring at the 46:07 mark. Junior forward Mike Ambersley split a pair of Tulsa defenders in leading Chirico on the right side of the 18-yard box. He took the ball alone against Tulsa goalkeeper Dominic Cervi and pushed the ball past Cervis outstretched arms toward the near post into the back of the net. The goal was Chiricos second on the season and first game-winner. It was Ambersleys sixth helper of the campaign.

The IU surge continued three minutes and thirty seconds later, 49:31, when sophomore midfielder Josh Tudela, who was on a run, found sophomore forward Jacob Peterson open at the top of the 18-yard box. Peterson was able to get space and fired a shot into the left side of the net past Cervi. The assist was Tudelas fifth on the year.

Only three minutes later, at the 52:41 mark, senior midfielder Danny ORourke stripped a Tulsa defender at the midfield stripe and began a run. The senior captain flicked a soft pass to the top of the 18-yard box where Peterson corralled the ball and fired a shot hitting the back of the net in nearly the same spot as his first. The goals were Petersons ninth and 10th on the season and the assist was ORourkes third of the campaign.

The Cream and Crimson did not stop there. IU had a trio of shots at the 66:33 mark with the third resulting in the fourth and final goal of the day. Sophomore forward Kevin Robson began the flurry with an open shot from the left side of the six-yard box. His shot was denied by a sprawling Cervi only to see junior Pat Yates fire the rebound on net, but his hopes were also dashed. The ball was spinning a yard off the goal line and senior forward Greg Badger found the loose ball, firing it in for the final goal of the day. The tally was Badgers second on the season with Yates notching his second assist of the year.

Robson looked to add to the Hoosier advantage in the 76th minute when he had a pair of scoring opportunities. The first opportunity saw him one-on-one with Cervi in the six-yard box with Cervi, only mere feet from the ball, getting the best of this opportunity with the save. Robson got another chance only seconds later only to see Cervi foil his chance again. Cervi finished the game with seven saves.

The first half was exciting, but devoted to midfield play. Indiana had the first opportunity in the 18th minute when Peterson broke free with the ball at midfield and ran into the 18-yard box. He fired a low grounder toward the left corner of the net, but it went wide into the side of the net.

Tulsas best opportunity came in the 28th minute when a misplay in the Indiana defense caused senior goalkeeper Jay Nolly to smother a ball that had been touched by an IU defender inside the 18-yard box. The foul prompted a direct kick from 16 yards out, but Tulsas shot went well wide of the mark leading to a goal kick. Nolly made three saves in earning his 11th shutout of the season and 30th of his storied career.

The 35th and 36th minutes saw junior Brian Plotkin create a pair of opportunities for Yates and the Hoosiers. Plotkin intercepted a pass in the Tulsa zone and carried the ball into the 18-yard box. He flicked a cross to a streaking Yates who got a solid head on the ball driving it over the net. A minute later, Plotkin took a long pass into the Tulsa defense and crossed the ball through the box where Yates gathered and fired a shot, but was blocked by a Tulsa defender.

The Hoosiers will battle the No. 3 seed Maryland in the first match of the College Cup Final Four on Friday, Dec. 10. The match is set for 5:00 p.m. PT in Carson, Calif., at the Home Depot Center. The other national semifinal will be No. 9 seed UC-Santa Barbara and Duke at 7:30 p.m. PT. The IU-Maryland match can be heard on WGCL-AM1370 and over the Internet on TEAMLINE by following the link at IUHOOSIERS.com. Scoring updates will be available at ncaasports.com. The semifinal matches will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Saturday.

-- Courtesy Indiana