It was a night of many firsts for IU men’s soccer as it hosted Wisconsin on Friday night. It marked both teams’ opening match of Big Ten play.
Despite entering Friday with an unbeaten record through five matches, No. 4 IU had yet to lead at any point in the season and had yet to finish a game in regulation time, but an eventual 3-1 victory over Wisconsin quickly quelled both trends.
The Badgers, who were without two of their top returning goal scorers, looked to be overmatched by a more physical and technical Hoosier team from the onset.
After dominating the majority of the opening minutes, IU caught a big break in the 10th minute as freshman forward Herbert Endeley, who made his first career start on Friday, was fouled inside the penalty box that drew an early penalty kick.
IU head coach Todd Yeagley called upon freshman forward Victor Bezerra to take the penalty try, and he was immediately rewarded for the decision as Bezerra netted the opening goal.
“I was confident,” Bezerra said. “I know I can hit penalties, and thankfully I was able to execute it properly.”
Not since Nov. 30, 2018, when IU defeated the University of Notre Dame to advance to the College Cup, had it taken a goal-scoring advantage in regulation time.
Bezerra's goal, the second of his career, gave the Hoosiers a much-needed first-half boost that eventually propelled them to a dominant first half.
“That was the idea to go straight in, work harder than them, want it more, and get a goal off as soon as we could,” Bezerra said. “And we were able to do that. I’m happy for the guys.”
The Hoosiers went into halftime with a five-shot advantage over the Badgers and a 1-0 lead. They looked to protect it in order to avoid overtime for the first time all season.
Wisconsin, however, refused to go down without a fight and made the adjustments necessary in the second half to put IU on high alert. For what seemed like the first time all night, the Badgers came out of halftime with much better ball movement that led to a few close goal-scoring opportunities.
Following a few close calls in front of IU’s net, Wisconsin finally capitalized in the 77th minute courtesy of sophomore Matthew Comiskey’s equalizer, tying the game at one apiece.
The scare would only be brief, though, as IU's redshirt freshman defender Daniel Munie netted the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute that put the Hoosiers up for good.
"I was really happy for Daniel Munie," Yeagley said. "He came in and really gave us what we needed."
Anchored by IU sophomore defender Jack Maher, the back line settled in and didn't allow Wisconsin to rattle off any more shot opportunities.
IU freshman forward Maouloune Goumballe sealed the victory with a last-second breakaway goal for his first career score, putting IU up 3-1.
A game that presented many questions for the Hoosiers as they entered Big Ten playwas met with a multitude of answers including efficiency and a much more clinical display of ball movement.
With its first conference win, IU extended its unbeaten streak at Armstrong Stadium to 30 consecutive games.
But don't tell Yeagley about all the streaks and firsts from Friday night.
“We’re not worried about streaks,” Yeagley said. “It’s the next game, the next team is all we care about.”
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