Marshall won its first-ever men’s soccer national title Monday night in a topsy-turvy season that truly couldn’t have finished some other way.
The college soccer season was required to be postponed due to the Covid pandemic and later moved to the spring subsequent to having been played in the fall. The Thundering Herd completed the season 9-2-2 overall and 6-0-1 against Conference USA adversaries.
Marshall entered the NCAA Tournament unseeded yet had a first-round bye. The team proceeded to defeat Fordham and upset No. 1 Clemson, No. 8 Georgetown and No. 16 North Carolina to get to No. 3 Indiana for the national title.
The Thundering Herd played the Hoosiers tight. Indiana had the option to get off eight shots however none of them moved beyond goalkeeper Oliver Semmle.
In extra time, Marshall would score the golden goal on a shot from Jamil Roberts. It was Roberts’ third game-winner of the NCAA Tournament.
Former Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington was among the individuals who praised their school.
“Immensely, immensely proud to be a part of this team,” Marshall coach Chris Grassie said, via the school’s website. “We all really kind of came together this season and we just got better and better and better. We had some bumps in the road. There are definitely a couple of teams tonight that will be happy they beat a national champion. But, we continued to learn from each lesson and each set back.
“It was the way it felt. It just felt amazing to be around this group. Everyone felt dialed in. Just couldn’t get enough of hanging out, enough of watching scouts and film and working with the guys. It was just one of those things where everyone was feeding off it more and more. And just being able to hang out socially for these last couple weeks has been fantastic.”
Grassie likewise praised Indiana on an extreme battle.
Marshall completed the season 13-2-3.