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Marshall’s Path to their First Soccer National Championship

Marshalls path to their first Soccer National Championship

Marshall and Indiana duked it out in the College Cup Monday night in Cary, North Carolina. The stands were mostly filled with kelly green in hopes that Marshall would win their first ever College Cup and National Championship. Indiana fans also showed up hoping their Hoosiers would spoil Marshall’s championship hopes. The game started late as it took penalty kicks to give the Santa Clara Broncos, who also won their first national championship, the win over top seeded Florida State in the women’s College Cup. The game started at 9:15 with a rowdy crowd in Cary. This is how Cinderella Marshall thundered their way through the college cup, eventually winning the national title over Indiana.

Marshall’s path from the second round to quarterfinals

Marshall played their first game in the cup against unseeded and 23rd ranked Fordham in the second round. Milo Yusef scored all of the Thundering Herds goals in the 2-1 victory over the Fordham Rams. This then took us to the third round where Marshall would face top seeded and top ranked Clemson Tigers. Max Schneider opened up the scoring with a goal in the 15th minute of the contest. Clemson would answer back with a Callum Johnson goal in the 32nd minute. The game ultimately went to overtime and was settled with penalty kicks. Marshall defeated Clemson in penalty kicks 7-6 as Marshall upset 1 seeded Clemson.

Marshalls path to their first Soccer National Championship
Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications

The Thundering Herd ran into Georgetown in the quarter finals of the College Cup. This battle was mostly defensive since scoring did not happen till very late. The only goal of the game was scored by Jamil Roberts in the 70th minute. Marshall would fend off the Hoyas for the rest of the game to move on to the Final Four.

Thundering Herd in the Final Four

Marshall’s first opponent in the final four was the North Carolina Tar Heels out of the ACC. This game was another defensive battle. North Carolina dominated this game throughout with 11 shots on goal. The Tarheels also had eight corner kicks throughout the game. This looked like it was going to take extra time to decide a winner, until the 60th minute of the contest. Jamir Roberts was the hero for Marshall once again as he scored on Marshall’s only shot on goal during the whole game. North Carolina did threaten Marshall the whole game after that, but ultimately just fell short as the Herd took the victory.

This led to the main event of the College Cup to decide the National Champion of college soccer. Indiana came in already being a soccer powerhouse. While Marshall in Conference USA was in uncharted territory with Chris Grassie at the helm as head coach. This game featured two of the best defensive teams and it played out like that, too. Marshall did control possession a lot of the game, but Indiana found opportunities throughout. Indiana had eight shots on goal along with two corner kick opportunities. Their goalie, Roman Celentano, had seven saves in a very respectable effort. Both teams never scored a goal in regulation as the game tied at zero. In the 98th minute in overtime, Jamir Roberts played the hero role once more and netted the game winning goal. This sent Marshall fans into a frenzy as they stormed the field in Cary and celebrated their first National Championship.

Final Thoughts

Indiana put in a valiant effort and deserves a lot of credit for what they did in the College Cup. The Hoosiers will be back in the mix next year as a contender to win it all in 2021. Marshall, on the other hand, fought every game mostly as underdogs with their backs against the wall. The underdogs reigned supreme in Cary this year as mens College Soccer has crowned a new National Champion: The Marshall Thundering Herd.

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