The first two teams to punch their ticket to the College Cup did so on Friday night behind the heroics of their goalkeepers.
Reading United goalkeeper Ben Lundt made two saves in a penalty shootout after a scoreless draw to lead Akron to college soccer’s final four for the fourth time in program history and the first since 2015. The game was a rematch of the 2010 College Cup final the Zips won.
Lundt, a 6-foot-6 junior from Berlin, Germany who played for the Philadelphia Union’s PDL affiliate last summer, made a pair of saves during the game, one a diving save to his left off a header from Cardinals forward Mohamed Thiaw. But it was his counterpart for Louisville, redshirt-freshman Will Meyer whose spectacular save on a Manuel Cordeiro attempt midway through the first overtime minutes kept the Zips from celebrating a golden goal win in front of 3,179 fans at Lynn Stadium in Louisville. The Zips also nearly won it in the second overtime on a header from Stuart Holthusen that hit woodwork.
In the other quarterfinal match played two hours north on Friday night, freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse made three saves in a penalty shootout to secure the Hoosiers’ NCAA-best 19th College Cup berth.
The Hoosiers fell behind to Big 10 rivals Michigan State less than two minutes into the match when Ryan Sierakowski silenced most of the 5,450 fans at Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana when he headed in a ball from DeJuan Jones.
It took another 58 minutes for Indiana to find an equalizer, which came off the foot of Trevor Swartz directly from a corner kick.
The score remained 1-1 through the rest of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, which all led to the heroics of Muse, a Seattle Sounders Academy alum, and heartbreak for a Spartans program that has now been denied a berth to the College Cup in quarterfinal matches three of the last five seasons.
Indiana will play the winner of today’s match between North Carolina and Fordham on Friday night at Talen Energy Stadium while Akron will get the winner of a rematch of last year’s final between top-ranked Wake Forest and two-time defending champions Stanford.