Just under a month ago, Northwestern handed then-No. 7 IU men’s soccer its only loss of the season.
Two minutes before Ugo Achara Jr. scored the Wildcats’ game-winning goal, IU sophomore forward Maouloune Goumballe received a perfect cross in front of a wide open net. He skied it over the crossbar, opening the door for the eventual Northwestern victory.
IU had a chance for revenge when Northwestern came to Bloomington Tuesday night, and Goumballe was prepared. He recorded one goal and one assist in the Hoosiers’ 3-0 victory over the Wildcats at Bill Armstrong Stadium. IU outshot Northwestern 19-1, including a glaring 8-0 advantage of shots on goal.
The Hoosiers’ first score came in the 11th minute when Goumballe picked up IU’s cheekiest assist of the season. He controlled the ball just outside the box in the near-corner and kept his eyes up to find freshman forward Nate Ward open. Goumballe floated a chip over, and Ward flipped a beautiful header off the left post for the game’s opening goal.
“Coach told us to get to the endline and be aggressive,” Goumballe said. “I was happy to see give him a good ball and happy to see Nate get his first goal.”
Although the finish was beautiful, the control and touch from Goumballe was equally impressive.
“I think we’re just seeing the top of the iceberg with Maouloune,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “He can beat you off the dribble and he can hold the ball under pressure.”
Nine minutes later, Goumballe showed up again. After Northwestern goalkeeper Miha Miskovic blocked senior forward A.J. Palazzolo’s header, Goumballe freed himself from a defender and flicked home the rebound for his first goal of the season.
After allowing the Wildcats to hang around last time, Goumballe and the Hoosiers were set on finishing it early this time.
“Our game plan was to put the game away early,” he said.
It was IU’s quickest two goals to start a match this season.
In the 38th minute, Yeagley subbed in senior forward Thomas Warr to give Goumballe well-deserved rest. He entered back in the 64th minute after sophomore forward Herbert Endeley’s nifty dribbling and left-foot strike extended IU’s lead to 3-0.
With the advantage, the Hoosiers were more cautious on risky attacks. They focused more on the possession game, inhibiting Northwestern’s chance for a comeback.
Goumballe safely passed the ball back to the back line mostly, but he still continued to look for openings. In the 87th minute, he found a gap and tested recently-inserted goalie Kevin Klausz with a ground shot that was saved.
Once again, IU’s back line did not break. Sophomore goalkeeper Roman Celentano recorded his fifth shutout in seven games but did not register any saves because of the shutdown defense.
“Our team defending is an anchor of our program,” Yeagley said. “We take a lot of pride in it.”
The win was a milestone for Yeagley, marking the 150th collegiate victory in his 12th season.
The Hoosiers improve to 6-1-0 on the season and are in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with 18 points. The team’s next match will be 2 p.m. Saturday on the road against Michigan.
After squeaking points out earlier in the season, earning 3 more by dominating whistle-to-whistle sits right with Yeagley.
“Some of those early games I didn’t feel great after,” Yeagley said. “This one felt good.”