HOOVER, Ala. – The road well traveled will end for either Indiana or Creighton today when the teams meet in the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup.
The game features teams that had to win a pair of road games to advance.
No. 8 seed Creighton (17-3-3) earned its second straight College Cup appearance by snapping Connecticut’s 38-match home winning streak with a 1-0 win on Christian Blandon’s goal with 90 seconds left.
Creighton’s only previous College Cup victory was a 2-1 triple-overtime win over Indiana in 2000.
Creighton midfielder Jose Gomez is a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy given to the nation’s top player. The other finalists are Notre Dame forward Ryan Finley and Maryland’s Patrick Mullins.
No. 16 Indiana (14-5-3) has a record 81 NCAA tournament wins and won its second straight championship and fourth in seven years in 2004.
There’s no level of intimidation because that happened in the 90s, said Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich, who is 4-1 against Indiana. Some of our guys weren’t even born then. I don’t see that being a factor.
Indiana coach Todd Yeagley was hired at his alma mater in 2009 and has quickly gotten the program back to the College Cup.
He can draw on his own experience as a four-time All-American who helped lead the Hoosiers to the championship game in 1994 and the semifinals three years earlier.
I’m just trying to tell them to enjoy it, Yeagley said. I know that when I was a player, that was something my coach said was to take it all in, enjoy it, play loose. You’re here because you put a body of work together.
Now, it’s just, leave everything you’ve got out there on this field and enjoy the experience.
The other semifinal features Georgetown against No. 2 Maryland. The third-seeded Hoyas (19-3-2) are aiming for a big milestone – Maryland (20-1-2) has won all 28 previous countable meetings.
Hopefully 29th game lucky, Hoyas coach Brian Wiese said. That’s what we’re banking on.
The Hoyas had won only four NCAA tournament matches before advancing with wins over UNC Charlotte and San Diego and a 1-1 third-round tie with Syracuse.
Despite the history, it’s going to be a good game, Hoyas midfielder Ian Christianson said. We don’t worry about it too much.