CARY, N.C. - The No. 2 Virginia men's soccer team captured its sixth NCAA Championship, and first since 1994, with a 3-2 penalty kick shootout win over No. 1 Akron following a 0-0 draw in the NCAA Championship final at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Cavaliers (19-3-3) ended the season on a 16-game unbeaten streak.
The title was the sixth for the Cavaliers in program history, having won the championship in 1989 and from 1991-94. The victory also gave the Virginia its 19th team National Championship in school history, the first since men's lacrosse in 2006.
"I knew was only a matter of time before we won another championship," said head coach George Gelnovatch. "In 1997, I thought we had a real good chance and lost in the finals. In 2006, we were in the College Cup and things didn't work out our way. I kept telling people, it was not a matter of if, it was a matter of when. Today was our day."
Early in the game, the Cavaliers had a golden chance to take an early lead in the fifth minute, but Will Bates' point-blank header rattled off the post. In the 14th minute. Akron had its first scoring chance, but Diego Restrepo (West Palm Beach, Fla.) made a save on a shot by Anthony Ampaipitakwong. Virginia had another chance in the 27th minute as Tony Tchani (Norfolk, Va.) headed a cross just over the bar. The Cavaliers had a 6-5 shot advantage over the first 45 minutes, but the teams remained scoreless at the half.
Akron (23-1-1) had the first scoring chance of the second half when Teal Bunbury headed a cross wide in the 54th minute. Later in the half, both teams had crosses go through the area, but neither side could get on the end of those passes and the game went to overtime scoreless.
In the overtime periods, neither side could find a game-winning goal, so the champion would be determined by a shootout. Tchani opened the shootout with a goal for Virginia and the Cavaliers took an early advantage when Restrepo stopped Akron's first kick taken by Zarek Valentin.
After Ari Dimas (Chesapeake, Va.) and the Zips' Ben Zemanski both converted their attempts in round two, the Cavaliers led 2-1. That lead was extended to 3-1 as Sean Hiller (Colts Neck, N.J.) made his kick and Akron's Kofi Sarkodie sent his off the post. In round four, Jonathan Villanueva (Grand Prairie, Texas) had a chance to clinch the title, but Akron keeper David Meves made a save and the Zips' Scott Caldwell converted the ensuing attempt to keep Akron alive.
Greg Monaco (Virginia Beach, Va.) had Virginia's second attempt for a championship, but Meves once again made a save. Blair Gavin had the fifth attempt for Akron and needed to convert to force extra kicks, but his shot sailed over the bar to give Virginia the National Championship.
Overall, Akron outshot Virginia 12-10 and had a 6-4 corner kick edge over the 110 minutes. Restrepo and Meves each made three saves in net.
Villanueva, who had two assists in the Cavaliers' semifinal win over Wake Forest was named the College Cup's Most Outstanding Offensive Player, while Restrepo, who posted his school record extending 16th shutout of the season in the final, was named the College Cup's Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Joining those players on the All-Tournament team were Brian Ownby (Glen Allen, Va.), Mike Volk (Bear, Del.) and Tchani.
The championship was the second of Virginia's six titles to be decided in penalty kicks. The Cavaliers won the 1991 title in a shootout over Santa Clara after a scoreless draw. That game was the last time the NCAA Championship Final had a scoreless draw and needed penalty kicks to determine the winner.
VIRGINIA 0, AKRON 0 (Virginia wins 3-2 in PKs)
Virginia (19-3-3) 0 0 0 0 - 0 (3)
Akron (23-1-1) 0 0 0 0 - 0 (2)
UVa. Tony Tchani (goal)
Akron. Zarek Valentin (save)
UVa. Ari Dimas (goal)
Akron. Ben Zemanski (goal)
UVa. Sean Hiller (goal)
Akron. Kofi Sarkodie (post)
UVa. Jonathan Villanueva (save)
Akron. Scott Caldwell (goal)
UVa. Greg Monaco (save)
Akron. Blair Gavin (high)
Virginia wins shootout 3-2
Shots: UVa 10, Akron 12
Corners: UVa 4, Akron 6
Saves: UVa 3 (Restrepo 3), Akron 3 (Meves 3)
Fouls: UVa 22, Akron 10
Weather: 41 degrees, rain
2009 NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team
Zach Loyd, D, UNC
Corben Bone, MF, Wake Forest
Zarek Valentin, D, Akron
Teal Bunbury, F, Akron
Ben Speas, MF, Akron
Blair Gavin, MF, Akron
Diego Restrepo, GK, Virginia (Defensive MVP)
Jonathan Villanueva, MF, Virginia (Offensive MVP)
Brian Ownby, F, Virginia
Mike Volk, D, Virginia
Tony Tchani, MF, Virginia