The second also came off another set piece when O’Malley took advantage of his three-inch height advantage over the 5-foot-9 Shinsky to beat him to a free kick delivered by Notre Dame All-American Harrison Shipp, who was named the College Cup’s Most Outstanding Player.
Steffen, who had made one his now patented diving saves early in the game against Shipp, said of O’Malley’s header, “It’s always hard to judge, especially with the forwards running at you. It’s pretty much a reaction save. You’re almost lucky if you save it. He had a good header.”
Said Cirovksi, “We showed our lack of size on set pieces, we’ve got one player over 6-foot in the starting lineup, we’re gym rats running around trying to play good soccer. When O’Malley went up, we had a mismatch and unfortunately they put it in the back of the net.”
O’Malley’s goal gave a white-haired man his players call “Boss” a long awaited first championship after coaching Division I soccer for the past 28 years, having reached the title game once before with Stanford. That resulted in a 3-1 loss to Indiana in 1998.
For O’Malley it was also a bit of redemption.
“He missed a few [headers] all season, I can tell you,” Clark said with a smile. “And he knows that, we talked to him. He saved that for the right time.”
Said O’Malley, “The goal itself was really put up on a silver platter for me. It would have been really tough for me to screw it up I suppose.”
Given that it came in front of dozens of family members and friends made it even more special for O’Malley.
“I kind of said jokingly after the game but I’m a little bit serious, people think I’m good now,” O’Malley said.