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Tranchilla tally in third overtime puts Creighton past Indiana 2-1 in semi; UConn bests SMU 2-0.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Friday, December 8, 2000) -- Mike Tranchilla and Brian Mullan have been a great one-two punch for No. 9 Creighton all season, combining for 35 goals entering tonightís action.

Tonight, the pair clicked again when it mattered most. Mullan scored early in the second half, on a feed from Tranchilla to give the Bluejays a 1-1 tie. Then, in a third sudden death overtime period, it was Mullan who set up Tranchilla for the winner in a 2-1 triumph over two-time defending champion Indiana in a Menís College Cup semifinal before 10,752 at Ericsson Stadium.

Creighton (22-3), playing in its first national final, will meet sixth-ranked Connecticut in Sundayís 1 p.m. (ET) final which will be broadcast live on ESPN2. UConn (19-3-1) used goals by Darin Lewis and Cesar Cuellar to blank No. 8 Southern Methodist 2-0 in the nitecap.

Tapes of both games will be aired by ESPN2 Saturday, starting at 12:30 p.m.

Tranchilla, a sophomore striker, knocked home the game-winner when he collected Mullan's shot after it bounced off a post and converted at 123:53 for his 19th goal of the season and eighth winner.

"I'm glad the game is over," Tranchilla said. "I'm happy. It hit the post, came right to me and I hit a wide-open net."

The Bluejays tied the score at 1-1 early in the second half. Keith Sawarynski passed to Tranchilla who found Mullan, a senior forward, for his 18th tally at 48:10.

"I told our team nothing miraculous at halftime," said CU coach Bret Simon whose side was outshot 8-3 in the first 45 minutes. "I told our team to stay together in close proximity. Indiana wouldn't have been able to use their athleticism if we stayed tight."

Indiana (16-7) grabbed the advantage when sophomore striker Pat Noonan nailed his 11th goal of the season at 29:23 with a 15-yard left-footed shot.

"I was disappointed about how the game ended, but I have no regrets and would have made no changes," Noonan said. "I wouldnít blame our loss on fatigue or anything else. Creighton deserved it and I wonít take anything away from them.

Creighton had two other terrific opportunities bounced off the goal frame in sudden death. Tranchilla's potential game winner at 92:42 bounced back and senior Peter Henning also watched a header bounce off the bar at 104:13.

Noonan had two opportunities to score in the second overtime period, but both of his shots were scooped up by CU goalkeeper Mike Gabb.

Gabb collected five saves for the Bluejays in 124 minutes, while Colin Rogers grabbed seven saves for the Hoosiers. Creighton outshot IU 15-12 for the game. The Hoosiers attempted nine corner kicks to Creighton's two.

"I'm just worn out," said Gabb. "We played well. We all gave each other momentum. Now it's important for us to refocus. "

Creighton had defeated the Hoosiers 4-1 in September. "We knew going into this game that it would not be like our last game against Indiana," Simon said. "This is the time of year when champions come through. They pushed us to the max today. Indiana played like true champions. We are proud to be in the position we are in. I am pleased with our players -- from the seniors down to the freshmen."

[6] Connecticut 2, [8] Southern Methodist 0

Senior Darin Lewis scored in the first half and freshman Cesar Cuellar in the second to give No. 6 Connecticut its ticket to its second NCAA championship match 2-0 over Southern Methodist.

UConn (19-3-2) defeated Alabama A&M 2-1 in overtime to claim the 1981 title.

The Huskies took a 1-0 lead at 14:44 when Lewis took a long serve from senior Brent Rahim and fired a shot past goalkeeper Byron Foss with his ninth goal.

"With that first shot, I was surprised because I wanted to cross it," Lewis said. "There was no one there so I just took a whack at it. It just happened to go between (Fossí) legs. They gave us a lot of space to move around with the ball. By the end of the game, space was open for everyone and I feel SMU almost gave up."

UConn made it 2-0 at 49:45 when Lewis made a 35-yard run into the offensive end and slipped a pass to Cuellar who scored his team- leading 15th goal of the season. Lewisí assist was a team-leading eighth.

SMU (20-5) entered the Final Four as the nation's top-scoring team, averaging 3.3 goals per gam, but managed just nine forcing keeper Bryheem Hancock to make three saves en route to tying the UConn record of 14 shutouts in a season. It was only the second time SMU had failed to score.

"I am very disappointed with the results for SMU," Mustangs coach Schellas Hyndman said. "I donít think we played as capable of a match as we could. I think the event kind of overwhelmed us. UConn is one of the best teams that we have played all year. They definitely deserved the victory. . . In the beginning, UConn made a few turnovers in their end. I donít think we did as good a job with our opportunities. An early goal would have made a difference."

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