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2012 Indiana Men's Soccer: Completing the Quest For Eight

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OTE's Favorite Teams continues with the story of a Cream and Crimson national champion

Everyone knows Indiana is a basketball state. Everyone who has ever seen the inside of Assembly Hall knows that Indiana men's basketball is a five time national champion. The history and lore of IU Basketball is well-known and easily found. It would be very easy to pick out an Indiana basketball season to represent a favorite team; the only difficulty would be in selecting a single one.

And because Indiana basketball gets so much press, there are times that people forget that they are not the program with the most national titles in Hoosier history. In fact, they don't even hold the second most, but you can be forgiven for not knowing that IU Swimming and Diving has six national titles, since their last team win came before IU basketball's third banner. No, the program that has brought home the most national championships to Bloomington is the men's soccer program, and I was fortunate enough to still be in school when they won their most recent in 2012.

Todd Yeagley entered his third season as Indiana's head coach in 2012, having taken over from Mike Freitag in 2010, who had been the successor to Yeagley's father Jerry following his 2003 retirement. Those three represent the only head coaches IU men's soccer has had as a varsity sport. Todd played at Indiana for his father, and was named player of the year in his senior season.

The Hoosiers compiled a 16-5-3 regular season record, but were only able to complete Big Ten play at 3-2-1 before crashing out of the Big Ten tournament early, falling to Michigan State. Even so, they were awarded the #16 seed in the tournament field, the final team ranked and the final at-large seed. This put them in the same regional as #1 overall seed Notre Dame and defending national champion North Carolina, the #9 seed. After dispatching Xavier at home, the Hoosiers traveled to South Bend and defeated Notre Dame on their home turf in double overtime, setting up a regional final against UNC in Chapel Hill. Eriq Zavaleta scored the lone goal of the match in the 60th minute to send Indiana into the College Cup, the 18th in IU history.

With another 1-0 win over Creighton, Indiana became the first 16 seed to reach the College Cup Final, where they met Georgetown, who had defeated Maryland for their spot in the final. And when Indiana needs a goal the most, they turned to Nikita Kotlov.

Following the win, IU Athletics had scheduled a celebration in Assembly Hall for when the team got home, but their plane was delayed, so a bigger and better celebration was thrown the next day, featuring the team, all 8 of the national championship trophies, and the game replay playing on the main screen in Assembly Hall.

That championship did a number of things for IU Soccer. First, it ensured that every Indiana men's head coach has won at least one national championship for the program. Second, it made the Yeagleys the first father-son duo to win national championships in NCAA soccer. Third, it added an eighth star to the Indiana soccer logo, symbolic of its eight titles. And finally, it broke the third longest national title drought in program history.

So, when the Quest for Eight came to a successful close, there was only one thing left for Indiana to do: begin the Quest for Nine, a quest which it is still on to this day.