When the IU men’s soccer team needed a goal this season, sophomore forward and midfielder Andy Adlard provided it.
And with four game-winning goals this year, it was no surprise he was the difference in the Hoosiers’ 1-0 victory against Ohio State on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Adlard’s serve into the Buckeye penalty box in the 94th minute of overtime was supposed to be a pass to his teammates. But when a scuffle in front of the goal confused Ohio State junior goalkeeper Byron Neal, the ball bounced into the net.
“Andy has played very well all season,” said IU coach Mike Freitag after the game. “We can talk about his goals, but what I am most proud of is his defending this year. He has always been a good offensive player, but the thing that he lacked in the past was defending.”
The score was Adlard’s team-leading sixth of the season.
The first half proved to be a defensive battle for both sides, as only four total shots were fired.
The Buckeyes had the best chance early on, as a header by junior defender Doug Verhoff in the 23rd minute went wide of the goal. IU’s best opportunity appeared just before halftime in the 44th minute, when Adlard rifled a hard shot on goal. Though on target, Neal saved Adlard’s shot, and the half ended in a 0-0 tie.
As they have in past matches this year, IU came out much more spirited in the second half. The Hoosiers had a prime chance in the 60th minute, when a corner kick was played out to junior defender Ofori Sarkodie, but his shot hit off of the crossbar. Seconds later, the ball landed at the feet of junior defender Kevin Alston, who took a hard shot that went just wide.
Sophomore defender Rich Balchan made a nice move past the Buckeye defense in the 86th minute and went one-on-one with Neal. Despite the effort to create an opportunity, his shot went over the goal. With neither team able to score, the game remained 0-0 at the end of regulation.
Similar to the last time IU and Ohio State met this season – a 3-2 IU road victory on Oct. 26 – Adlard’s overtime goal propelled the Hoosiers to victory.
The Hoosiers’ defense played well in the match, allowing only seven total shots from Ohio State, none on goal.
With an intense past history, it was not surprising to see added aggressiveness on the field. Thirty total fouls were called on both sides in the game, including three yellow cards.
“It was a big battle from both teams,” Adlard said. “Our team matched the intensity, and everyone did their job. We got down and did the dirty work, and that was necessary to win.”
Balchan said he was most proud of the way his team played in the later stages of the game.
“In the second half, we settled down a lot and started moving the ball around,” he said. “It allowed a lot more to open up. We got a lot more chances, and that is why we were able to win the game.”
The Hoosiers will face Michigan in a 1:30 p.m. matchup Friday. The Wolverines defeated Wisconsin in a shootout in the game directly after IU’s win.