Two huge upsets highlighted the men’s and women’s NCAA national soccer championships, giving more credence to the notion that an underdog is truly the most dangerous opponent in college sports. On the men’s side, unseeded Marshall defeated Indiana thanks to a now-likely hero, and Santa Clara took out the top-seeded Florida State on the women’s side.
Marshall became just the latest unseeded team to win a national title, though the last time it happened was all the way back in 2006.
Sporting Kansas City draftee Jamil Roberts scored the winner via golden goal in overtime that led fans of the Thundering Herd in attendance to storm the field. It was an erratic goal, the kind you’d only see when desperation takes over because the players are too tired for regular will and determination.
Even though this was far from the norm, for Roberts, it was just another day of the office given how the last two games of the tournament had gone for him. Both the semifinal and quarterfinal matches ended with 1-0 victory, with Roberts being responsible for each game’s lone goal.
Prior to the title game, Marshall’s most impressive victory did not come from a 1-0 win thanks to Roberts. Instead, they defeated top-seeded Clemson on penalties to knock out one of the best teams in the country.
Speaking of knocking out a one seed through penalties, Santa Clara defeated Florida State in a penalty shootout on Monday to take home their own NCAA College Cup championship. The victory came from the boots of Izzy D’Aquila, who scored the game-clinching penalty shot — an opportunity that would not have arisen were it not for the Seminoles hitting the woodwork twice on their penalty shots.
Late-game heroics were required to get to that point in the first place, with Kelsey Turnbow tying the game at 1-1 in the 84th minute after Florida State scored the opener in the 63rd minute.
The runners-up, however, might have very well felt as though they had a fair amount of practice in this sort of situation, as their last two games in the tournament had gone to a shoot-out as well. But, as the old athlete post-game presser reply goes, you have to take things one game at a time.