Less than 24 hours later, Scott Caldwell was still trying to fully appreciate the moment.
His goal in the 78th minute of Sunday's Division 1 men's soccer final lifted the University of Akron to a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten Louisville in Santa Barbara, Calif., the first NCAA championship for the school in any sport.
``It's definitely something I dreamed about as a youngster, playing on a national champion, but I didn't think it would be me scoring the goal,'' said Caldwell, a sophomore midfielder from Braintree in a phone interview from California this afternoon.
The game winner, a 15-yard shot after his initial bid was blocked from the top of the penalty box, capped a remarkable scoring spree for the 5-foot-8, 145-pound Caldwell. He netted five goals in seven postseason games after not scoring a single marker in the first 37 games of his college career.
"The ball bounced back to me and the rest was just instinct," he said. "I was able to get the rebound over the goalie's shoulder from the center of thebox. There wasn't a lot of time to think about it or celebrate because we still had time left in regulation."
After connecting for his first career goal against Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference tournament, he added goals against Western Michigan (MAC), West Virginia (NCAA) and California (NCAA). He was named the outstanding player of the final four.
"Once I got my first one, it gave me the confidence going forward," said Caldwell, who attended the Edison Academic Center in Bradenton, Fla. while suiting up for national youth teams. His sister, Amy, was a senior forward on the Boston College women's team that advanced to the national semifinals earlier this month. Their father, Larry, played for the Hartford Bicentennials in the NASL.
``I'm feeling pretty ecstatic because it's our first national championship in any sport at Akron. I feel like I've done something for the entire school.''
The Zips (22-1-2) won the title a year falling in the College Cup final to Virginia in a shootout.
Sports correspondent Marvin Pave also contrbuted to this report.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell