FORT WAYNE — More than 6,000 people were packed around Hefner Field No. 1 on Saturday night.
Numerous fans wore the signature red-and-white striped jerseys of Chivas Guadalajara, and even more wore the cream-and-crimson of Indiana University, though they weren’t as boisterous.
Festival founder Terry Stefankiewicz, who had been scrambling around the Shindigz National Soccer Festival so much for three days that he had watched nary a minute of game action, stopped to look at the crowd.
“This is an overwhelming success,” he said.
And not just for the organizers of the festival, which concludes with matches today at Trine University in Angola.
For college soccer in the state of Indiana, this was also an overwhelming success. Especially since IU defeated Chivas Guadalajara 2-1, after outscoring Chivas 4-3 in penalty kicks.
On Thursday night at the festival, Notre Dame played Chivas to a 1-all draw.
Chivas Guadalajara is the club’s under-23 team, and many of the Chivas players will advance to Mexico’s top squad.
“This means a lot,” said IU senior defender Caleb Konstanski, who scored in the 18th minute and during penalty kicks. “We came in here with the mentality that we wanted to win. It didn’t come in overtime (as one wasn’t played), but a win is a win in our book.
“We’re not going to play a team much better than that all year. We showed we can play a game at this level, and big things are coming for us.”
The penalty kicks were done to please the TV cameras, which weren’t on hand Thursday.
“To be able to replicate the pressure of penalty kicks, because the (postseason) tournament will be the next time we see it, was a great exercise for us,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said.
Chivas’ Carlos Ernesto Cisneros Barajas tied it at 1 in injury time at the end of the first half, and the Hoosiers had to fight off a flurry of aerial attacks in the waning minutes.
In injury time, Chivas put in its better penalty-kick goalkeeper, Miguel Jimenez Ponce. He stopped junior A.J. Corrado in the second round for a 2-1 Chivas lead.
But IU senior goalkeeper Luis Soffner stopped back-to-back shots by Irving Rolando Avaloz Gonzalez and Juan Miguel Basulto Medina. And Hoosiers junior Jacob Bushue won it.
“This was a very good team and to play in front of this atmosphere, it was a very good test,” Yeagley said. “They really stretched us, and we really could have just bunkered. Yet that’s not how we play, so we pressed. And we got caught a few times, but our damage control was excellent when we needed it.”
IU has two local players on its team – senior forward Tim Wylie and senior goalkeeper Nate Mitchell – but neither saw action.
“The penalty kicks were great practice for us,” Konstanski said. “After a long, hard-fought game, just to know you can do that and be successful, especially when it’s late in the season, will mean leaps and bounds for us.”