Syracuse goalkeeper Russell Shealy celebrates the national championship (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
It was the longest shootout in College Cup history, but the wait was worth it for Syracuse University.
Goalkeeper Russell Shealy made two saves in an eight-round shootout and Amferny Sinclair connected for the game-winner as the third-seeded Orangemen beat 13th-seeded Indiana University, 7-6, to win the NCAA College Cup championship for the first time on Monday night.
The eight-time national champions Hoosiers (14-5-6) forced extratime as they equalized at 2-2 in the 80th minute. After two scoreless 10-minute extra sessions, each goalkeeper had a diving save in the second round before the next 10 players scored.
The shootout was tied at 4-4 after the first round of five, sending it to sudden death. Both teams converted on their sixth attempts before Shealy made a save on Maouloune Goumballe’s shot. Sinclair then buried his PK, giving Syracuse the national title.
“Amferny Sinclair, how bout this guy? Captain, leader spiritually, on the field covers every blade of grass and for him to step up and score the winning penalty, I think it was written,” Syracuse coach Ian McIntyre was quoted by the Associated Press.
Syracuse (19-2-4), which set a program record with its 18th win in the semifinals, became the second team in Atlantic Coast Conference history to win its division, conference tournament, and national championship in a single season — joining the University of North Carolina in 2011.
Nathan Opoku opened the scoring in the 24th minute with his 11th goal of the season to snap Indiana’s string of four consecutive matches games without allowing a goal in the College Cup.
Opoku curled in an 18-yard shot into the top left corner of the net before he played a role in Syracuse’s second goal that gave the side a 2-1 lead. That’s when he drew defenders at the edge of the penalty area and sent a cross in front of the net that Curt Calov slotted home only 86 seconds after coming on as a substitute.
Indiana competed in the championship game for an NCAA-record 17th time – and the second time in three seasons.
Patrick McDonald scored for the Hoosiers in the first half on a corner kick. Herbert Endeley knotted things up at 2-2 when a deflected cross fell to his feet at the top of the 18-yard box before he tallied.