CARY, NORTH CAROLINA — The agony, splendor, despair and glory of a penalty shootout was on full display at WakeMed Soccer Park on Monday night, as Syracuse defeated Indiana after 110 minutes of back-and-forth soccer was followed by eight penalty rounds in the national championship game.
Here's a shot-by-shot recap of the shootout:
|Wittenbrink ✅||Boselli ✅|
|Henderlong ❌||Kocevski ❌|
|Mihalic ✅||Calov ✅|
|Sarver ✅||Singelmann ✅|
|Maher ✅||Biros ✅|
|Bezerra ✅||Rauch ✅|
|Helmer ✅||Johnson ✅|
|Goumballe ❌||Sinclair ✅|
Click or tap here for a moment-by-moment recap of the national championship game
Both goalkeepers made their presence known early, meeting the second penalty they faced and diverting them away. What followed was several rounds of textbook penalty kicks: blasted into top corners, lashed into side nettings and rolled past keepers who guessed the wrong way. On the third sudden-death kick, Syracuse keeper and College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player Russell Shealy stuffed Maouloune Goumballe, setting up a decisive and championship-winning spot kick from team captain Amferny Sinclair.
🏆 CHAMPIONS!!!! #MCollegeCup x @CuseMSOC pic.twitter.com/PKlC8xH9Fg— NCAA Soccer (@NCAASoccer) December 13, 2022
A fitting way for the Orange to win the program's first national championship and a storybook end to a season that began with Syracuse picked to finish closer to the bottom of the ACC and no one even considering this team a factor in the title picture. Four months and a school-record 19 wins later, the Orange stand alone atop the men's college soccer mountain.
Forward Nathan Opoku was central to the win, once again involved in multiple goals during regulation as he was in the semifinal win over Creighton. His goal was a flash of his technical brilliance, beating two defenders with quick feet before curling one top corner with his left foot. Later he turned another defender before looping one into the path of Curt Calov who slotted home the second goal. Opoku's two goals and two assists in the College Cup earned him Most Outstanding Offensive Player honors.
The Hoosiers leave Cary, North Carolina as runners-up for the second time in three seasons. The defeat was even more agonizing after they battled back from a one-goal deficit on two occasions throughout regular time. The chances missed and defensive mistakes made will be replaying in their minds all offseason, but this team — this program — will undoubtedly be heard from again in the near future. The wait for the ninth star above the IU crest will have to wait another year.
In the meantime, the national championship trophy will be headed to a brand new home in upstate New York.
LET THE CELEBRATIONS BEGIN 💍#DareToDream pic.twitter.com/NxJIMukTZB— Syracuse Men's Soccer (@CuseMSOC) December 13, 2022