December 12, 2004 – Home Depot Center, Carson California – There are a lot of spins that one might put on the Indiana and UC Santa Barbara college soccer national title match. Some might bill it as the new vs. the old, the legend vs. the rookie, pretty play vs. practical play, and so on but the bottom line is that despite their differences and frankly their similarities in some cases, both teams deserved to be in the national title match and both teams gave it their all. In addition, it was a hard fought and exciting contest, before a very good and enthusiastic crowd, it was played in comfortable weather conditions and the match was televised live to a national television audience.
In the end Indiana found a way to win back to back national titles by prevailing 3-2 in a penalty kick shootout after the contest remained tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and two ten minute overtime periods.
Sophomore forward Jacob Peterson gave Indiana a 1-0 lead when he utilized his speed to get behind the UC Santa Barbara defense to find the back of the net in the 27th minute of the match. Sophomore back Jed Zayner was credited with the assist on the goal. The goal was Peterson’s 11th of the season.
The score remained 1-0 at the end of the first half.
UC Santa Barbara got the best of it in the second half as the ball pretty much remained on Indiana’s side of the field. However, the Gauchos from UCSB were unable to take advantage of the opportunities that they were afforded via a string of free kicks and corner kicks and as the amount of time remaining in regulation began to expire it appeared that the Hoosiers might hold on to claim a 1-0 win.
However with ten minutes remaining in regulation UC Santa Barbara senior forward Drew McAthy came up big for the Gauchos as he has so many times during his career when he controlled the rebound of teammate Ivan Becerra’s shot near the top of the box and drilled it back into the goal past Hoosier keeper Jay Nolly who had lost his footing to even the score at 1-1.
UC Santa Barbara was the aggressor in both sudden death overtime periods but they were unable to find the back of the net. The Gauchos continued to push players from the back forward to try to create scoring opportunities. Both Tony Lochhead and Andy Iro went forward at times to put pressure on the Indiana defense.
Indiana did the things they needed to do to contain the UCSB attack and appeared willing during the overtime periods to limit their attack to counter attack opportunities. Throughout the match Hoosier coach Mike Freitag did an excellent job of substituting his players to try to keep fresh legs on the field. In the end his substitution pattern likely impacted the outcome of the contest.
Throughout the match UCSB did a good job of putting pressure on Indiana which in turn disrupted the flow of the Hoosier attack forcing them to play the ball too quickly at times and therefore limiting the productivity of the very talented Indiana midfield. Indiana on the other hand did a very good job of staying organized defensively, they kept their composure, and they were able for most of the contest to negate the advantage that UCSB normally has in the air.
Sophomore Kyle Redish replaced senior Dan Kennedy in goal for UCSB when the match went into penalty kicks but senior Jay Nolly remained between the pipes for Indiana. UCSB got the early advantage in p.k’s when Redish stopped Drew Moors penalty kick attempt. However, the count evened at 1-1 when UCSB’s Neil Jones missed his attempt and John Michael Hayden converted his p.k. attempt for Indiana. Greg Badger and Mike Ambersley also made good their penalty kick attempts for the Hoosiers. Nolly clinched the title for Indiana when he saved the last two UCSB penalty kick attempts to enable the Hoosiers to prevail 3-2 in p.k.’s.
Tim Vom Steeg’s UC Santa Barbara Gauchos finish an outstanding season with a 21-2-2 overall record. They definitely earned the respect that they feel they have not received in the past.
The transition from the Yeagley era to the Freitag era at Indiana is now complete and the road to the national championship still goes through Indiana. The Hoosiers have now won seven national titles and this is the third time in the history of the program that they have won back to back national titles.
Both teams struggled at times to get into the rhythm of their attack and to put together combinations of passes. However, the intensity of the match and the atmosphere surrounding it made it an outstanding national title match and a fitting close to a very successful 2004 college soccer season.