Championship Game Notes
Connecticut's Max Zieky holds the trophy as the team takes a victory lap after
defeating Creighton, 2-0, in the NCAA Men's College Cup soccer championship game.|
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Junior two-
time All-American Chris Gbandi (Houston, TX) hooked in a 23-yard
direct kick early in the first half and senior All-American Darin Lewis
(Tunapuna, Trinidad) added an insurance score late in the second half
as the University of Connecticut men's soccer team defeated
Creighton University, 2-0, on Sunday to win the 2000 NCAA Division I
Gbandi, a defensive specialist who on Saturday was named winner of
the Hermann Trophy symbolic of the nation's top collegiate player,
went on the offensive 15:27 into the first half of the national
championship match at Ericsson Stadium. UConn was awarded a
direct kick after a Creighton foul and Gbandi calmly curved a left-
footed shot inside the right corner of the net past the dive of Blue Jay
goalie Mike Gabb. After handing UConn its early lead, Gbandi
returned to his defensive post and ended the national championship
match being named the "Outstanding Defensive Player" of the NCAA
UConn maintained that advantage until the final five minutes of
regulation when a trio of Huskies combined for an all-important
second goal. Sophomore Rui Fernandes (Bridgeport, CT) got the ball
up the right sideline to junior David Castellanos (Philadelphia, PA)
who crossed it into the top of the circle. Lewis, who was named
"Outstanding Offensive Player" of the NCAA College Cup, settled the
ball in front of the goal and rifled a shot from eight yards out past
goalie Gabb at the 85:41 mark.
The score for Lewis was his 10th of the season. Lewis had scored one
goal and added an assist on Friday night in UConn's 2-0 national
semifinal victory over Southern Methodist.
UConn sported a slim 11-9 advantage in shots on goal but
Connecticut did not allow Creighton to dent its net. Connecticut junior
goalkeeper Bryheem Hancock (Middletown, DE) chalked up four
saves in net as he established a single-season school record by
notching his 15th shutout of the season. The shutout loss was the first
match all season that Creighton (22-4) had failed to score.
Five members of the victorious Connecticut national championship
squad were named to the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament
teamtri-captain Gbandi, Lewis, Hancock, two-time senior All-
American and tri-captain Brent Rahim (Diego Martin, Trinidad), and
senior tri-captain Max Zieky (Glastonbury, CT).
The national championship victory for the Huskies completed in
perfect fashion the rebuilding of the UConn men's soccer program by
fourth-year head coach Ray Reid. UConn advanced to the 1999 NCAA
College Cup in Reid's third year in charge of the program, losing in the
national semifinals. Connecticut returned to collegiate soccer's "Final
Four" for the second consecutive year in 2000 and posted back-to-
back shutout wins en route to the national crown.
Connecticut is now two-for-two in NCAA men's soccer title matches.
In 1981, UConn claimed the NCAA Division I national championship,
defeating Alabama A&M 2-1. Ironically, Connecticut's final overall
record in its 2000 national championship season, 20-3-2, was the
identical overall record for the 1981 UConn national champions.
NCAA Division I College Cup--Ericsson Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Connecticut 1 1 - 2
Creighton 0 0 - 0
UC-Chris Gbandi 15:27
UC-Darin Lewis (David
Castellanos, Rui Fernandes) 85:41.
SHOTS ON GOAL:
UC-4 (Bryheem Hancock); C-4 (Mike Gabb).