The 2012 men’s college season served up plenty of exciting and dramatic action this fall. Overtime, late game winners, goal-keeping heroics – the list is lengthy of entertaining games from this past fall.
Here’s a look back at ten of the best games of the season:
This might not have been one of the best games of the season if you're looking for a close game – unless you’re a Lobos diehard – but the final score is certainly memorable enough to sneak in and earn recognition.
Nine Lobos scored on the night, with Devon Sandoval’s hat trick the only total greater than one.
Historical significance carried this result into the top 10. Despite the nature of Washington’s success – scoring from a pair of long throws – it’s the final score that counts, and this win marked the first for Washington over UCLA in eight tries, dating back to 2007.
The game itself wasn’t pretty – a scrappy, direct affair between two teams desperate to win. But the circumstances surrounding Indiana’s win is what makes this one memorable, from the traveling support, Hoosiers defensive effort, and witnessing one of men’s soccer most storied programs returning to the top gives it plenty of merit.
Two emerging programs converged in the second round of the tournament, and fireworks ensued. VCU had a dream start, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes, only to see the lead collapse and the two teams entered halftime tied 2-2.
From there the stats were relatively even, with VCU registering 16 shots to Syracuse’s 8 on the day. And just when it looked like penalties were in order, Louis Clark popped up in the second overtime to score the winner.
For the first time in 14 years and 15 tries, Cal Poly pulled off a win in Santa Barbara.
It came in dramatic circumstances as well, as George Malki scored with just over a minute later to force overtime, where Mackenzie Pridham poached a goal in the first OT to secure the historic win in what was an entertaining match.
Top matchups sometimes fail to match the hype. And while a rainstorm threatened this match at the start, nearly 8,000 fans packed into Ludwig Field at Maryland which made for a grand spectacle, and a dazzling, entertaining night ensued.
After a close, back-and-forth battle, Terps goalkeeper Keith Cardona saved the game for Maryland denying Robbie Lovejoy from the spot, before Schillo Tshuma won the game in overtime.
The highest-scoring game of the season has to be included no matter what the defensive diehards might say. The goals didn’t stop flowing all evening as the two teams traded punches all night – Oakland scoring the first two goals, and holding a 3-2 lead at the break.
Enigmatic striker Akiel Barrett quickly turned the game on its head, scoring a hat trick in five minutes early in the second half, and from there the goals flowed through until the 83rd minute.
How Creighton survived this game is difficult to figure out. Akron looked like it was cruising to the next round of the tournament, up 1-0 and in control after an 11th minute goal. But when the Zips failed to add to the lead, Timo Pitter’s tally with seven minutes remaining tied things up, forcing overtime.
That’s where things got crazy. Akron captain Scott Caldwell had a chance to win it from the penalty spot three minutes in, after a handball in the box. On the same play, the Blue Jays had a man sent off, meaning it would have to cope with ten men after goalkeeper Jeff Gal made a heroic save.
Somehow, despite launching 31 shots in total, the Zips couldn’t score another goal, and Gal was the hero again during penalty kicks, coming through with clutch saves to snatch an incredible result for the team from Omaha.
Thirty seconds is all that stood between Georgetown and a Big East tournament title, up 2-1 at PPL Park.
Notre Dame kept fighting to the end, and Nick Besler’s goal from a set piece tied the game, and when penalty kicks looked certain, Ryan Finley popped up to score with just over a minute left to grab the Big East crown.
Hands down the best game of the season saw two of the top four seeds square off in the national semifinal and put on a show for the ages.
The Hoyas were largely the better side for most of the game, but Maryland’s relentless attack nearly did enough to gloss over a poor defensive effort on the night. Steve Neumann used a hat trick to introduce himself on the national stage, while goalkeeper Tomas Gomez stepped up in penalty kicks, denying Taylor Kemp and Helge Leikvang to punch a ticket to the final.