Men’s soccer defeats Michigan State to win Big Ten Tournament
By Alyssa Extin
The Hoosiers are riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak into the big dance after defeating Michigan State 1-0 Sunday.
Junior midfielder Jamie Vollmer notched his first career goal as a Hoosier to give the team its first conference tournament championship since 2006, which also took place in Columbus, Ohio.
The game was moved up three hours because of impending storms. The wind preceding those storms were a major factor in the game. The Hoosiers played against the wind in the first half and weathered several of Michigan State’s attacks, one of which hit the right post in the 42nd minute.
Freshman goalkeeper Colin Webb made several saves to keep the score tied 0-0 going into halftime. Webb said he thinks the team is definitely hitting its stride.
“We’re definitely peaking,” Webb said. “Everyone’s just playing with a lot of heart knowing that we have to win every single game, and I think we have a good thing rolling.”
Indiana had better ball control for most of the game and capitalized with the wind at their backs in the second half. IU scored the lone goal in the 66th minute when Vollmer found the ball in the open field, went one-on-one with goalkeeper sophomore Zach Bennett and beat him with a low shot.
After the game, Vollmer was in a celebratory mood. When asked how he felt after scoring his first goal he said, grinning, “Well, it’s better than never.”
He said he was happy with the way the team was playing and was looking forward to more soccer.
IU Coach Todd Yeagley said it has been great to see non-starters like Vollmer step up and play crucial roles in the team’s tournament run. In summing up his first Big Ten Tournament Championship, Yeagley said he was really proud of his team and what it was able to accomplish through a season full of adversity.
“It feels great,” Yeagley said. “These guys have worked so hard and stayed on course. That was a gutsy game, and it wasn’t a pretty soccer game. It was a bit of a mudder, and guys fought through and did a really great job.”
The team would not have gotten that opportunity if it had not prevailed over Penn State on Friday.
After two halves and two overtimes in that game, neither team could find a goal, and the game was decided on penalty kicks. All five Indiana shooters scored while one of Penn State’s shots missed the mark, giving the Hoosiers the victory and sending the regular season Big Ten Champions packing.
The Hoosiers now await the NCAA tournament draw to find out where they will be dancing. Indiana will attempt to defend a national title with 47 teams trying to snatch it from them.
When asked what he would say to the season’s naysayers who doubted the team could get to this point, Yeagley responded with five words.
“Don’t bet against the Hoosiers.”
Follow men's soccer reporter Alyssa Extin on Twitter @alyssa_extin.
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