The Hoosiers were a fraction of an inch away from giving up a late game-tying goal for the second-straight game Saturday at Michigan.
Freshman goalkeeper Luis Soffner got a finger on Justin Meram’s shot as the second-half clock neared expiration. His save sealed a 1-0 IU victory and ended a two-game losing streak.
“The last 10 seconds were crazy,” Soffner said. “We thought we had it in our offensive half, and they played a long ball into the box. Luckily, I was paying attention.”
Last Wednesday, Butler came into town and knocked the Hoosiers off at Bill Armstrong Stadium, a reason why Saturday’s contest was particularly crucial for IU.
“It was an important win, especially against a Big Ten team,” IU coach Mike Freitag said. “I was just proud of the effort we put in today. It wasn’t a pretty game. It was a tough game, and we found a way to win up to the very last second. Guys didn’t quit and they didn’t stop. Everybody came and worked their tails off.”
No. 14 IU improves its record to 6-4-1 with the win and remains perfect in conference after two matches in Big Ten play.
“It’s a huge victory for us,” junior forward Andy Adlard said. “With the results we’ve had lately, we need it to get confidence back up. Two games, two wins. It’s a good start.”
Adlard, who was recognized as the co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, scored IU’s lone goal. It was his fourth of the season.
The victory did not come easily as the physicality of the Big Ten shone through in Michigan’s 17 fouls to IU’s eight. “You have to take it and not be afraid to get hit,” Freitag said. “It’s going to be a battle both ways. It’s a black-and-blue division, and not always pretty soccer.”
Adlard said IU took the win by beating Michigan at its own game.
“You have to match their intensity,” he said. “It comes down to individual battles. You have to match whatever he’s doing or better. We did well getting after the ball and played well as a team today. It’s fair to say that we deserved to win.”
The Hoosiers’ record away from Jerry Yeagley Field now stands at 5-2.
The next road test for IU comes Wednesday when it travels to Notre Dame for its second in-state match of the season. Game time is 7 p.m.
Following two rough games at UC-Santa Barbara and at home against Butler, Soffner said the Michigan win was a step in the right direction.
“It’s huge,” he said. “The last seven days we’ve been struggling finding our way. Tonight, getting the victory was huge for us. And a Big Ten victory will definitely help us later on. It’s nice to get back on winning ways.”