Men’s College Cup Preview
By Quinn Casteel
There are only three matches remaining in the men’s college soccer season, as the College Cup plays out this weekend in Hoover, Ala. with No. 16 Indiana taking on No. 12 Creighton and No. 2 Maryland facing No. 3 Georgetown. The winners will meet Sunday at 2 p.m. in the National Championship.
No. 16 Indiana (14-5-3) vs. No. 12 Creighton (17-3-3) | Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. at Hoover, Ala. | Watch Live
With a 1-0 win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill in the round of eight, the Hoosiers became the first team in a span of 40 matches to defeat the Tar Heels on their home field. Indiana has also had arguably the toughest road to Hoover, having had to beat the preseason No. 1 Tar Heels and the College Cup top seed, Notre Dame.
Indiana has advanced to its first College Cup since 2004, and its 18th in the history of the program. No team in college soccer has won more NCAA Tournament matches than the Hoosiers have in their rich history having accumulated 81 in their 40-year history.
Creighton’s path on the way to Hoover has been equally remarkable, as the Blue Jays and Hoosiers are the only College Cup finalists that had to win on the road to get there. The eighth-ranked and 12th-seeded Blue Jays are back in the College Cup for a second straight year, but they will try to get over the hump after having been bounced in the semifinals each of the last two times they have made it this far (2011, 2002).
Timo Pitter and Jose Gomez’ 45 combined points (16 goals, 13 assists) this season have carried Creighton’s offense, and the team’s success in the College Cup will likely continue to hinge on a big performance from one if not both of their star players.
No. 3 Georgetown (19-3-2) vs. No. 2 Maryland (20-1-2) | Dec. 7, 5 p.m. at Hoover, Ala. | Watch Live
While the other side of the bracket contains two relatively unlikely competitors with two double-digit seeds, this side offers a more conventional match-up of two of this year’s College Cup favorites. The Big East runner-up Hoyas will take on the ACC champion Terrapins in a match which will produce a clear favorite to win Sunday’s National Championship.
For both sides, the tournament has mostly gone according to plan to this point. By defeating Louisville 3-1 in the round of eight, Maryland advanced to its 12th College Cup Final Four in a match which avenged last season’s postseason loss to the consistently-elite Cardinals.
The Terps’ 2.61 goals per game average is good for best in the country, a stat indicative of the fact that Maryland has the deepest and most potent offense in the country. 16 players have scored for Maryland so far this season, led by ACC Player of the Year and Herrman Trophy finalist Patrick Mullins who tallied 16 in his junior season.
For Georgetown, Friday’s match against Maryland will be an opportunity to finally begin to re-write history.
Continuing what has already become the most successful season in the program’s history, the Hoyas advanced to their first-ever College Cup Final Four by defeating one of the hottest teams in the country with a 3-1 win over San Diego last weekend. However, facing the Terrapins has historically been an uphill battle for the 19-win Hoyas, who are 0-28 against Maryland all-time in the beltway battle.