Lockdown defense and a gutsy goal gave No. 4 IU men’s soccer a 1-0 win on Homecoming weekend against Michigan.
Sunday’s match between the top two Big Ten teams left the Hoosiers as the only team in the Big Ten without a loss in conference competition. It also moved IU to 23-0-9 in regular season conference play since 2015.
IU’s win was its fifth consecutive game without a loss, while ending Michigan’s unbeaten streak of seven and moving IU’s unbeaten run at Jerry Yeagley Field to 33 games.
Freshman goalkeeper Roman Celentano racked up his second straight clean sheet, saving two point-blank shots from Michigan. The goalie was batting balls away off corner kicks and broke out of the box to stop potential shots.
“I’ve got all the faith in the world in Roman,” sophomore defender Jack Maher said. “He’s a fantastic player, and he helped us so many times by coming out there and taking away all those balls.”
Maher also took away multiple first half opportunities, heading the ball away from Wolverine forwards and clearing out balls on two-on-one chances. Additionally, the lone sophomore on the Mac Hermann Trophy watch list helped IU limit the Big Ten’s leading goal scorer and graduate forward Nebojsa Popovic to one shot.
Junior defender A.J. Palazzolo also helped Maher in outbodying Michigan near the goal box while facilitating the offense with senior midfielder Joris Ahlinvi. Combined, the two owned the majority of IU’s shots with three apiece.
The game’s lone goal came in the second half from junior midfielder Spencer Glass. Off a counter, Glass drove the ball down the left side of the field and kicked home his eighth career goal as a Hoosier at a seemingly impossible angle.
“I got around the defender on the left, and normally I’m kinda known to cross it, so I looked for that obviously,” Glass said. “I saw their goalie take one step left. I saw top left [of the goal], and luckily I was fortunate enough to put it there.”
Michigan outshot IU in every aspect during the first half, leading in shots, 5-4, shots on goal, 1-0, and corners, 2-0. It controlled the ball for the majority of the time and prevented IU head coach Todd Yeagley’s offense from scoring.
“First half was a little stale; I thought we could have been sharper,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “I give Michigan credit. They’re a tough team to play, and their press was good.”
The wind and sun also factored against IU in the first half, shining bright in their faces on offense and preventing Celentano’s goal kicks from making it past the midfield line.
Nevertheless, IU maintained its lead and earned its third defensive shutout of 2019.
IU is now 22-3-2 all-time against Michigan and is 8-1-3 this season. The Hoosiers have not lost to the Wolverines since 2013.
“There is no easy Big Ten game, doesn’t matter the circumstance, doesn’t matter who you’re playing,” Maher said. “Every single Big Ten game you have to take it as a championship game.”
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