IU Coach Todd Yeagley called it a heavyweight fight between No. 1 IU and No. 7 Notre Dame.
It was two top-10 teams. Two Indiana teams. The match went back and forth the whole way.
IU would give Notre Dame its best shot, then Notre Dame would respond. It was exactly what the 11th-biggest crowd in Bill Armstrong Stadium history was expecting.
No. 1 IU landed the only true shot of the night with a 67th-minute goal by junior midfielder Austin Panchot and knocked off No. 7 Notre Dame, 1-0, Tuesday in Bloomington.
“We had a lot of good moments tonight,” Yeagley said. “They were kind of heavyweight moments. They had their rounds and we had ours. We were able to make a play.”
Through the early stages of the match, Notre Dame came out and controlled things. Notre Dame senior forward Jon Gallagher was giving the IU backline all it could handle. The Irish were sending long balls into open space and Gallagher was using his pace to track them down. It gave the Hoosiers fits for a while, but eventually the game swung.
Gallagher was a menace throughout for the Irish. However, IU stood strong and posted its seventh clean sheet of the season. Gallagher against the IU backline was one of the marquee matchups coming into the game with his six goals in seven matches. Yeagley said he thought his team had heard enough of Gallagher by the end of the match.
“He’s as good of a striker as there is in college soccer,” Yeagley said. “Tonight, he was just a touch away or a cross a little bit closer, maybe he gets a chance."
When it came down to it, there was just the one moment that IU needed to put away Notre Dame, and it didn’t come until the 67th minute. IU freshman midfielder Spencer Glass injected some life into the IU attack as he has in the past two matches. His cross into the box squirted through about five bodies, including Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Chris Hubbard. All Panchot had to do was clean it up and put it in the back of the net.
The goal almost came against the run of play. In the second half, much of the play was dictated by Notre Dame. The Irish never had that great of a chance all night except for a moment in the last 10 minutes where Yeagley jokingly said his heart got a little pacy. The ball ended up in the net for an IU own goal, but it first happened to just squeak over the endline. Nonetheless, the Hoosiers were able to find their one moment.
“I think I can speak for most our teammates when Spencer gets the ball we get a little excited and dart into the box because he can put in a ball like that,” Panchot said.
Panchot did just that. He was waiting at the back post and Glass found him.
“One of our talks was getting the ball wide and if the center backs are pushing high, getting an early ball in,” Glass said. “He was making the back door run and I saw him. It was kind of what we talked about and I’m glad we were able to execute it perfectly.”
Beating one of the best teams in the ACC, the Hoosiers get a massive résumé-building victory. The Hoosiers are still set to play five more ranked teams as of the Sept. 26 rankings. There will be plenty more tests to come, but Tuesday’s win meant a lot in terms of validation for Panchot and the Hoosiers.
“To be able to beat them is one thing, but to solidify the No. 1 ranking and show the nation that we do deserve to be No. 1, means everything,” Panchot said.
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