WESTFIELD, Ind.- No. 2 IU defeated Ohio State 4-0 on Friday afternoon at Grand Park to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game.
IU dominated the match, controlling possession and creating many chances against the Buckeye defense while not allowing Ohio State to complete many passes in the middle of the pitch.
"We came out flying because we knew they were going to come out hard too,” junior midfielder Austin Panchot said. “We have to give it everything we got from start to finish. We had the right mindset going in, so that definitely helped a lot.”
Junior midfielders Francesco Moore, Trevor Swartz and Panchot dominated Ohio State in the middle of the field all game long and set the tone early in the match with a mix of physicality and quickness.
“We knew coming I that we had to combine offensively and really get into the gaps or get in behind, or check back off the center backs,” Panchot said. “I think we really found our mojo, and we made good passes and final third decisions. We got the job done.”
The game's scoring started in the 17th minute after Swartz fed junior defender Andrew Gutman on the left side of the penalty box. Gutman then crossed the ball with his first touch, and the goal was scored by junior attacker Cory Thomas.
The Hoosiers never looked back after taking the lead.
A mistake by Ohio State sophomore goalkeeper Parker Siegfried allowed IU to double its lead in the 47th minute. Siegfried mishandled a long-range shot from Gutman, which bounced off the goalkeeper and dribbled into the net.
A volley by Moore and a header by Panchot provided IU with its final two goals of the match. IU will face the five seed, Wisconsin, in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game at 12 p.m. Sunday at Grand Park.
“Our rhythm came back,” Gutman said. “I think this was a good game to get our sharpness back heading into the Big Ten Final. I don’t think anything was missing though. I think every team goes through their ups and downs in the season, and we were at a low point. This game pushed us out of it, and we rolled out of it.”
Friday's match was the sixth time this season IU scored at least three goals in a game. IU Coach Todd Yeagley said the team wants to carry that form into the next game and then into the NCAA Tournament.
“The highs and lows have been good all year,” Yeagley said. “The team is enjoying this year, and I like that about this team. We stay present, but coming into the game today, there wasn’t a ton of ‘ra ra’ to go and perform, and we enjoy doing what we do. It definitely doesn’t feel like work for this group, they just enjoy playing with each other, competing and representing IU soccer.”
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