By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
SOUTH BEND — Femi Hollinger-Janzen drew a huge ovation from the Indiana University fans when he entered the men’s soccer game about midway through the first half on a chilly Sunday afternoon at Notre Dame.
The IU team got an even bigger one when the No. 16 seeded Hoosiers scored the game winning goal in the second overtime to upset the No. 1 seeded Fighting Irish, 2-1, in the third round of the NCAA National Tournament.
A number of the IU fans were either family or friends Hollinger-Janzen, a 2012 Bethany Christian High School graduate.
“It was amazing to hear the cheers,” the Hoosier freshman said. “I love every single one of them that came out here to support me and the team. We have such great fans. We couldn’t have done it without them.
“This is definitely the highlight of my first season at IU. Winning today is the best feeling ever. It’s amazing. It’s awesome.”
Hollinger-Janzen had to overcome a knee injury that limited his playing time to 14 minutes in the opening half, but played 42 minutes in the second half and the overtime sessions. He never left the field after he reported in for the second half and he started both of the extra sessions.
“Femi played fantastic,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said. “He is a special kid. We saw a different Femi today than we did back in the second week of the season. He is playing with a lot more confidence. Femi is a special player. He is right on the cusp of getting in on goals or assists for us. His ability in the air and to get to the ball are super. He understands what we expect of him. He has all the skills that can rank him up there with all the special players we have had at IU.”
Hollinger-Janzen had a shot attempt early in the first overtime that was blocked.
The Hoosiers (13-5-3) advance to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. Indiana will square off with the No. 9 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (16-3-3) Friday at 6 p.m. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels were 1-0 winners over Fairleigh Dickinson, also on Sunday.
Notre Dame was a 1-0 winner over the Hoosiers during the regular season on Sept. 26 in Bloomington.
Indiana improved its all-time record at Alumni Stadium on the Notre Dame campus to 10-1-1 since the facility opened in 2009. It was the 37th meeting between the two schools with the Hoosiers holding a 27-7-3 advantage.
Indiana improved its all-time record in the NCAA tournament to 80-27-4. The 80 wins is the most among NCAA Division I schools.
The teams battled to a 0-0 tie at halftime.
The Irish got on the scoreboard first with a goal from senior Kyle Richard assisted by junior Harrison Shipp at 53:34. It took the Hoosiers less than a minute to answer as junior Nikita Kotlov scored at 54:30 assisted by classmate A.J, Corrado.
“That was disappointing we couldn’t hold the lead,” Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark said. “They say the next five minutes after a goal are the most important. If you can keep the other team from scoring you can frustrate them.”
The score remained 1-1 through the end of regulation and the first 10-minute overtime.
The Irish (17-4-1) had outscored opponents 35-5 in the second half this season.
“We knew Notre Dame was a second-half team and we stepped up our level of play and matched their effort,” Hollinger-Janzen said. “We may have even gotten to a level higher.”
At the 101:06 mark, IU sophomore Eriq Zavaleta found the net with an assist from Kotlov.
“That is the special thing about this team,” Hollinger-Janzen said. “That was not a set play. It was a header, followed by a kick, followed by another header that turned into a goal.”
It was the 17th goal this season for Zavaleta who earned the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award this season.
Hollinger-Janzen has started games against Akron, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Ohio State and Michigan State this season. He has scored three goals and assisted on one other. His first career goal was in a 4-1 win over Kentucky and the second in a 2-1 loss to Michigan. His third was in last week’s 4-1 win over Xavier in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“Femi has the athletic build, the speed and the quickness to play at this level,” Yeagley said. “He also has the humility to reach his full potential.”
Indiana has won national championships in 1982, 1983, 1988, 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2004.
“I think we can get to the Final Four and win it all,” Hollinger-Janzen said. “We work well together as a team.”
That team unity has been one of the most impressive things to Hollinger-Janzen.
“The way all of the freshmen have been accepted by the rest of the team is amazing,” he said. “We are on big happy family. We have a lot of fun on bus trips and in hotels. I have loved every minute of the season.”
Hollinger-Janzen played for Hank Willems at Bethany where he earned not only the 2011 Indiana Player of the Year Award but the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year and was a first-team all-state selection. He scored a school-record 67 goals and was credited with 23 assists.
“Hank taught me to play with the team,” Hollinger-Janzen said. “He prepared me to play at this level. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him.”