Indiana Daily Student

Hoosiers denied 6th NCAA title

Creighton beats IU in semifinals

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Creighton lost its battle with the left post on the north goal Friday at Ericsson Stadium, but the loss mattered little.\nFor the post couldn't have advanced to the national championship match with a victory.\nAnd Creighton came back to beat the Hoosiers 2-1 in triple overtime to advance to its first College Cup championship.\nThe Bluejays hit the same post three times in overtime -- twice in the first extra period and once more in the third -- before getting a rebound to bounce their way in the 125th minute.\nWhen Creighton did get a favorable bounce, forward Mike Tranchilla calmly placed a shot into the left corner of the net -- just inside that dreaded post.\n"The third time it hit the post, before it hit the post, I was like, 'Yes, game over,'" said Tranchilla, who assisted on the Bluejays' first goal. "Then it came to me and I had a wide open net. And the game was over."\nCreighton couldn't end the game until falling behind early and tying the game in the second half.\nSophomore forward Pat Noonan opened the scoring in the 30th minute after receiving a ball from junior midielder Ryan Mack.\nMack played a ball to a space near the right edge of the penalty area, where Noonan collected it and cut toward the goal. Noonan danced around a defender and sent a left-footed shot low and to the near post for a 1-0 IU lead.\nThe goal was one of five shots by Noonan in the first half, many of which were created by him checking to the ball.\nBut Noonan's presence wasn't felt much in the second half, when he stopped making runs back to the ball.\n"I was trying to get behind too much (in the second half) instead of checking back like I did in the first half and getting the ball at my feet," Noonan said. "I don't know why I kept doing it, but I kept fading away hoping for the long ball, the through ball, maybe to get that goal.\n"But it just didn't happen."\nHere's what did happen:\n• IU started playing sloppy after halftime, abandoning what worked early and failing to maintain possession.\n• Creighton erased any first-half momentum IU had left by tying the game early in the second half with a goal by forward Brian Mullan.\nIU managed only four shots the rest of the half, and only one was a serious threat. That one, a rocket by senior forward Matt Fundenberger with six minutes remaining, nearly prevented overtime.\nNoonan fed Fundenberger a ball toward the right side of the field, and Fundenberger volleyed it after one bounce. Creighton goalkeeper Mike Gabb, standing four yards off his line, dove and tipped the ball just high and wide of the net.\nThen came overtime.\nAnd the left post.\nTranchilla hit the post two and a half minutes into the first overtime, and defender Peter Henning hit the post with a header at the one-minute mark.\nMullan made bar music for the third and final time with 11:07 remaining in the third overtime, and Tranchilla exorcised Creighton's post demons with the gamewinner.\nIU's best chance in overtime came less than a minute into the third, when freshman forward Lucas Christian ran onto a ball near the six-yard box. Christian got a shot off, but it was a weak one and was deflected by a defender.\nThe Hoosiers' lack of offense in extra time was due in part to the absence of Mack, who left the game late in the second half because of severe muscle cramps. Mack didn't return until the start of the third overtime.\nIU coach Jerry Yeagley said Mack's absence lessened the Hoosiers' chances of scoring the golden goal, but he was quick to credit Creighton for the victory rather than make excuses for the loss.\nHe also gave credit to his team -- a team that few expected to make it to this stage of the tournament.\n"This team this year, I think expectations from the outside were not very strong for IU," he said. "To achieve what they did and come together at the end, and to play some very good soccer and play with some confidence, showed how much this team advanced from start to finish.\n"And again, I'm very proud of that"

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