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Tomas Romero clinches Georgetown’s first national championship with PK save

Cherry Hill, N.J. native and Philadelphia Union Academy grad came up with the save that ended an epic national championship game

NCAA Soccer: Dl Men’s College Cup Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After 13 straight makes in the PK shootout, it took a save from Cherry Hill, N.J. native Tomas Romero to clinch the first ever national title for Georgetown in an epic battle with Virginia in Cary, North Carolina on Sunday night.

The Philadelphia Union Academy grad dove to his right to stop the spot kick from Axel Gunnarsson in the seventh round of penalties after the rivals played to a 3-3 draw.

Lancaster County native Sean O’Hearn, who started at left back, kicked the PK shootout off for the Hoyas with a conversion in the first round and Romero’s save launched the on-the-field celebration for a program that last made it to the final in 2012 when New Hope, Pa. native Steve Neumann was leading the offense.

Romero was done in by a deflection that opened the scoring for the Cavaliers in the 10th minute off a shot from New Zealand international Joe Bell but the Hoyas stormed back to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room on goals from Paul Rothrock and Daniel Wu. Daniel Steedman tied the game at 2 with a shot that hit off the post and went in but the Hoyas regained the lead in the 81st minute on a Derek Dodson goal. Daryl Dike’s rebound off his own header tied the game in the 86th minute to send the game to overtime.

The highest scoring final since 1980, the six-goal affair was especially shocking considering the two teams finished No. 1 and 2 in goals against average this season, conceding just 21 goals between them (Virginia allowed 10, Georgetown 11).

Romero became the second YSC Academy grad to win the College Cup after Sebastian Elney won it with Maryland in 2018. He split the games evenly with sophomore Giannis Nikopolidis, finishing with 12 starts, 7 shutouts, a .64 goals against average and 79 percent save percentage in his freshman campaign.