Indiana wins eighth national championship in defensive struggle
HOOVER, Ala. -- Indiana got a goal from Nikita Kotlov in the 64th minute and the stifling Hoosier defense made it stick Sunday. Indiana defeated Georgetown 1-0 at Regions Park to claim its eighth national championship.
The goal came after a kick from near the corner-kick spot came in to Eriq Zavaleta. Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez rushed to the right of the goal to keep Zavaleta in check. When Zavaleta's header attempt came to the center, Kotlov then had a wide-open net and didn't miss.
It was Kotlov's ninth goal of the season and one of a dozen shots the Hoosiers took in the second half.
"I think Eriq deserves a lot of credit," Kotlov said. "As you can see from the past few games, he's assisted on a cross. This was just like that. Eriq makes a great run gets to the ball, sees me there and makes it really easy for me. I just tapped it away."
Indiana is the first No. 16 seed in history to win the championship.
"You see the emotion from them. You can see it in the locker room. This is special," Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said. "It was a really hard-fought final. I couldn't be more proud of these players.
"Words are hard to explain what we shared in the locker room and what we shared on the field," Yeagley said.
One last chance for Georgetown by Tommy Muller in the game's final minute hit the post.
Georgetown's Steve Neumann was named the tournament's offensive MOP. Neumann scored three goals in the Hoyas' semifinal win against Maryland on Friday night.
Indiana goaltender Luis Soffner was named defensive MOP.
Both teams had many chances to score, as both goaltenders were forced to lay out. Soffner made four saves in the win and Tomas Gomez had six stops in a losing effort for the Hoyas. who were stopped in their first national championship appearance.
"They were deserved winners," Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese said of Indiana. "I told the players in the locker room that we have the second-place trophy, which today is one of the sourest things you can look at, but I know that given some time it's going to be something that we really treasure as a great accomplishment for the program."
In the first half, Georgetown had the best opportunities, causing Soffner to go horizontal twice to save strikes from inside the penalty-shot area. The first came off the foot of Tyler Rudy at 16:02. The second from Brandon Allen at 35:04. Melvin Snow also launched a shot from about 12 feet that sailed wide left.
Zavaleta had three shots for the Hoosiers in the opening frame while A.J. Corrado had the other.