Indiana and Georgetown have little time to worry about their NCAA soccer title game showdown Sunday.
Georgetown must recover from two overtimes and a shootout in its semifinal victory Friday night, while Indiana hasn’t played on only one day of rest since early September.
”There’s no doubt that plays into it, but it’s a final,” Indiana coach Todd Yeagley said Saturday. ”It’s a special game. I’m sure both teams will find something extra.”
Indiana (15-5-3) is in the championship for a record 14th time following its 1-0 semifinal victory over Creighton. The Hoosiers have won seven titles, second only to Saint Louis with 10.
The Hoyas (19-3-3) are making their first appearance in the championship game. Georgetown beat Maryland 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 4-4 tie.
The teams are significantly different on the field as well. The Hoosiers have relied heavily on their defense, allowing only 18 goals in 23 games. Meanwhile, Georgetown’s attacking offense has scored 43 goals in 25 games.
The Hoyas have scored seven goals in their past two games alone. The Hoosiers have not given up seven goals in their past eight games combined. Georgetown has scored two or more goals in 13 games. Indiana has allowed two goals in a game only four times.
These contrasting styles were on full display in the semifinals. The Hoyas continued pushing the ball against Maryland even after taking a 4-2 lead in the second half.
”That’s the way we play,” Georgetown coach Brian Wiese said. ”We’re not going to change that.”
That offense will be put to the test against Indiana, which held Creighton to only two shots on goal in the semifinals, and both of those occurred in the final three minutes when the Bluejays were in an all-out scoring push.
After the game, Creighton midfielder Jose Gomez said, ”It was hard for us to move because they pressured so much. It was hard to find a rhythm.”
”That’s the best compliment you can have, that you took a team out of their comfort zone,” Yeagley said. ”That’s a sign of a championship-caliber performance, and it’s the backbone of our program.”
The Hoosiers hope their defensive pressure can be equally as frustrating to Georgetown, though the Hoyas insist they don’t fluster easily.
”We don’t really have a swing of emotion,” Georgetown midfielder Ian Christianson said. ”We don’t get all caught up in the emotion of the game. Coach tells us to stay nice and even-keeled no matter what’s going on. Mentally we stay the same.”