When I said earlier in the year that the Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team were on their 2022 revenge tour, they proceeded to vanquish all soccer losses and one of their draws on this postseason run. Having run through all of the potential soccer vengeance, the Orange are turning to the hardwood. In what immediately brings back memories of the 1987 National Championship game, the Orange are set to face the Indiana Hoosiers for the national title in the College Cup final, December 12th at 6pm from Cary, North Carolina.
The Hoosiers are no strangers to the highest stage in college soccer. Since they started the program in 1973, they have an all time win percentage of .778, which is the highest of all time. They’ve been a part of the tournament 46 times and the College Cup 22 times as a program. They’ve only been a program 50 years, that’s close to half of their years ending in the final four at least.
Since the 2010 season, Indiana has been coached by native son Todd Yeagley, son of legendary coach Jerry Yeagley. Yeagley the younger played at Indiana for his dad, garnering All-American honors his junior and senior year, bringing home the MAC trophy his senior year. He then played a seven year stint with the Columbus Crew before rejoining his father’s staff at IU. Eventually, after a year as the head coach of Wisconsin, he came home to take over the family business and has been at the helm since. They’ve made the NCAA Tournament in each of his 13 years as head coach, made the College Cup five of those years, the finals three times and brought home the title in 2012. That title was Indiana’s eighth overall, best in the “modern era” and second only to St. Louis University’s ten titles.
The Hoosiers bested Pittsburgh in the other side of the bracket to punch their ticket to the title match. They gained the lead on a penalty early, doubled up on a great strike by Tommy Mihalic right before the half, and were able to weather the storm for the rest of the match to advance.
In a squad known for defense, Indiana has a standout in now-two-time USC All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, centerback Daniel Munie. In midfield, it’s leading scorer Ryan Wittenbrink and Herb Endeley, who won the penalty against Pitt, to keep an eye on, combining with Mihalic to make the offense tick. While Syracuse has been bolstered by Maryland transfer Russell Shealy, Indiana has a transfer of their own between the sticks, with JT Harms coming to campus from Duke and coming up with some big saves in the postseason.
There were only two common opponents on the season between the two schools, Clemson and Penn State. Syracuse went undefeated against them, beating Clemson twice, once home and once in Cary, NC to bring home the ACC title, and Penn State once at home early in the year. Indiana lost their season opener to Clemson, and beat Penn State first in a high scoring 4-2 affair mid-season, then again, 1-0, in their run to the Big Ten title game.
One more win for the title in the 2022 NCAA soccer season. The two teams meet at 6pm, December 12th, in Cary, NC. The match will be broadcast on ESPNU or streamed via ESPN+.