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NCAA Championship
Virginia 0, Akron 0 (Virginia wins 3-2 on Penalty Kicks)

Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch
On when he started thinking about the possibility of penalty kicks
“Only towards the overtime, and to be honest, only towards the last part of the overtime, maybe only inside of five minutes left in the overtime do you start to think about your order. Akron took P.K.’s the other night and we paid attention to that. We wanted to make sure we had the right signals going in to Diego with regards to who was taking it and which way he was going.”

About Virginia finally winning another national championship
“I knew it would come. I told my athletic director that. I told our associate athletic director that, that it’s not a matter of if; it’s gonna be when. And I was hell-bent on making sure of that. Over the last couple of years I’ve been saying it, and here we are.”

On having no All-ACC players and just one All-American and winning the championship
“To be fair, looking back, if the All-ACC team and the All-America teams were picked now, I think we’d be booked. Our first half of the season was decent – we were getting results – but I wouldn’t say we were playing great. I’ve said it publicly: We weren’t firing on all cylinders. We were winning 1-0 [against teams we should have beaten worse than that]. The All-America stuff is based on people who’ve seen you play mainly in that first half of the season. That may not be entirely fair, but I’ll tell you, there are five or six guys out there now that people would give their left arm to have on their team.”

On when he first started thinking this might be THE team
“I don’t really think in terms of that. We grinded for the first half of the season. The turning point, one of the games I think about, was on the road at Virginia Tech. We won that game 3-1, and that was the last goal that was scored on us before Friday night, and I still don’t count that because it was an own goal. But that was the last time we were scored on.”

Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo
On his game plan entering penalty kicks
“I just wanted to calm down. On the first P.K., my goalkeepers coach, Mike McGinty, told me the way he went in the last game (the semifinal Friday vs. North Carolina). I just had a feeling that he’d switch it up, and that’s what happened. I just went on instincts on the first one, and that was huge for us.”

Defender Mike Volk
On the pressure Akron put on the Virginia defense
“I think it’s safe to say that that was the most pressure we’ve gotten all year, especially in the championship game with the emotions flying. From day one in our season, we’ve had each other’s backs on the back line. The thing with us is that each game, we’ve gotten better and better, and we continue to get better even at the end of the season. Even after the [Wake Forest] game, after the Elite Eight game, we kept getting better. We never really hit the peak. We just kept going up. We stayed unified and played really tough.”

Akron Head Coach Caleb Porter
Opening Statement
“It’s tough to lose that way. I’ve been a part of a team that has won that way as well, and I can tell you it’s better than losing. But it doesn’t feel quite as good as actually winning the game. I’d like to credit Virginia for playing very well and putting up a good fight. They played us as tough as any team this year. You get closer to winning the national championship, second place hurts. You get so close you can taste it.”

“What makes this one even more tough is that we didn’t give up a goal in the entire NCAA Tournament, and yet we don’t take home any hardware. I told the guys that they have nothing to hang their heads on. They raised the bar in my opinion. The way they played the game, I can hold my head high knowing we did everything we could. I thought today we had chances. Two incredible goalkeepers kept making plays. The defenders made a couple good plays, and in the end it was a tie. You have to have a winner. Penalty kicks in our sport is how they determine that. Like I’ve said I’ve won championships this way, so I’m not saying it’s the wrong way to do it. In the end we go home empty handed.”

“What I’ll remember more than anything is the way we played this team and how we approached going into games against the best teams in the country. Not hoping to win, but expecting to win. Not hanging on potential results, but dictating the game. I thought we did that today again, and we’ve done that all year long, so I’m proud of my guys. It’s cruel, but we will continue to follow the same formula. I’ve always felt that if you do that in the end it’s going to be fair. We are going to keep chasing the national championship.”

On Virginia playing physical
“That’s a part of the game. That’s not the first time we’ve seen that. I thought in the first half we let it rattle us a little bit. We didn’t play quick enough, but the second half I thought we were in control of the game. We played well enough, but again a goal wasn’t scored. When you’ve got two teams, on that his given up seven goals and the other that’s given up eight goals. No one is giving in. So time runs out and it’s 0-0 and you’ve got to now decide on five kicks.”

Senior Midfielder Ben Zemanski
On building momentum in the second half
“They counter us a couple times in the first half. I felt like in the second half we definitely were starting to dictate the game a little more and getting into the style we wanted to play. I guess we ran out of time.”

On the rain affecting the game
“It made the field slick and sped up the play a little bit, but it was fine. It wasn’t a factor at all.”

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