Men’s national champion Virginia seemed to come from nowhere to win the title. They flew under the radar all tournament.
During pool play Virginia won their opener St. Louis 1-0. They then lost to a tough San Diego State side 1-0. So expectations may not have been high from others. There were others that seemed to be poised for a title run. After all San Diego State was a finalist in 2014 and Ohio State won the title that same year.
During bracket play, Virginia seemed to get the goal they needed and moved on. Nothing flashy. Just score, hold and move on. They played Michigan in the round of 16 and won 1-0. They played Delaware in the quarterfinal and won 1-0. They played a strong Cincinnati in the semifinal and won 1-0. A pattern of 1-0 matches seemed to be developing.
In the final, Ohio State was looking to win their 2nd title in 3 years. They had just come off a tough victory over San Diego State in the semifinals in extra time. An SDSU team that beat Virginia earlier in the tournament. It seemed Ohio State would be the team of destiny with a champion pedigree to take the crown.
Then out of nowhere, Virginia scored 3 goals to open the first half in the final. Ohio State did equalize almost immediately when they fell down 1-0. But Virginia scored twice more in the half. All 3 goals where goals of quality. But the quantity mattered most. Ohio State scored in the 2nd half to cut the deficit to 3-2. But it was not enough. Virginia did just enough and shocked all to win a well deserved national championship.
Congratulations to the 2016 Men’s National Champions: Virginia!