Few, if anyone, thought these universities would meet in Sunday’s championship match, a 2 p.m. ET kickoff at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
Indiana has history on its side. Aside from the Hoosiers’ seven titles, the finalist with a pedigree has always prevailed in the final in recent years: North Carolina over Charlotte last year, Akron over Louisville in 2010, Wake Forest over Ohio State in 2007 and Maryland over New Mexico in ’05.
Can the Hoyas pull it off? Sure. But they’ll have much more difficulty navigating Indiana’s resistance (18 goals conceded in 23 matches) than Maryland’s porous defense in Friday’s semifinal. Conversely, the Hoosiers’ attack isn’t as menacing as Maryland’s.
Judging from Saturday’s news conferences, Georgetown is the far looser side, cracking self-deprecating jokes, exchanging light-hearted jabs with Coach Brian Wiese and giving off the impression this is just another game during a wondrous season. Indiana Coach Todd Yeagley, son of legendary boss Jerry Yeagley, was serious, focused, almost robotic.
The programs have met only once in their history: a 2-2 draw in an early 2003 match played at UConn.
For your pregame reading enjoyment, here is my profile of Hoyas junior forward Steve Neumann, an undersized recruit from the Philadelphia area who has blossomed into one of the nation’s premier attackers.
Announcers: Glenn Davis, Taylor Twellman.
Weather: 70 degrees, cloudy.
Your pregame, in-game and postgame thoughts are welcome in our comments section.