WESTFIELD, Ind. - When the last penalty was converted and celebrations commenced, it was the more dominant team that walked off the field with their heads down.
Despite controlling the majority of possession and out-shooting No. 5 seed Wisconsin 24-7, No. 2 seed IU fell by way of penalty kicks in the Big Ten Championship game.
“We were pretty confident that we were going to get one but it didn’t fall our way today,” junior midfielder Austin Panchot said. “We thought that if we kept doing what we were doing, creating a lot of chances, we thought a couple bounces would go our way and we would’ve had one."
It was that kind of day for the Hoosiers, forcing Wisconsin senior goalkeeper Phillip Schilling to make eight saves, while freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse only had to make two saves the entire match.
Defensively, IU limited Wisconsin attackers Tom Barlow and Chris Mueller to few opportunities on net. The Hoosiers put numerous amounts of dangerous balls into the 18-yard box but came out with nothing.
“It sucks,” junior defender Andrew Gutman said. “That’s all I can say.”
Wisconsin sat back for most of the game and let the game come to them, and IU took it to them. The only great opportunities the Badgers had to score a goal were off of restarts and counter attacks.
“Mueller and Barlow were a non-factor today,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “I know a couple of times got free, and some of their best chances came from second balls or restarts. We were dictating the flow and finding guys in our attack. We did a good job defensively against a really good attack.”
Yeagley also said he thought his wingers did a good job gassing Wisconsin’s full backs in order to create and develop new chances down the sidelines. He said the difference was their inability to put the ball on frame, resulting in the loss.
It was the third time in consecutive seasons where the Hoosiers have been knocked out of the Big Ten Tournament in penalty kicks. They were defeated in 2015 and 2016 in the semifinals by Maryland and Wisconsin, and this time, were eliminated by the Badgers in the final game.
“It’s a really disappointed locker room,” Yeagley said. “When you’re so close – this is the third time we’ve been knocked out in penalties in a row, and it’s tough. I know these guys want to hold a trophy, and we have one opportunity left to do that.”
This wasn’t the first time this season IU lost when they have been the more dominant team, and Yeagley said his players and himself were frustrated with how the game went after the final Wisconsin penalty was put into the back of the net.
“The sad part is that the performance on the field, the team that was holding the trophy wasn’t the better team today. I told our guys that I was proud of their effort, their conviction and their continuous edge throughout that game.”
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