It was all IU men’s soccer from the start.
The No. 7 Hoosiers avenged their only loss of the season Tuesday by defeating Northwestern 3-0 at home in a complete effort on both sides of the ball.
“This one felt good,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “We played well and deserved the goals that we scored.”
In the first 11 minutes, IU created three corner opportunities, but it failed to finish on any of the restarts.
Then sophomore forward Maouloune Goumballe chipped a cross, and freshman forward Nate Ward headed it home to give IU an early lead against Northwestern.
Nine minutes later, senior A.J. Palazzolo put a header on goal that was saved by Northwestern’s senior goalkeeper Miha Miskovic, but he couldn’t hold onto it. Northwestern failed to clear and the rebound fell to Goumballe, who found the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
“Of course it felt good to break my goal drought,” Goumballe said. “But I was trying not to get too excited. I had to stay clicked in. I knew they were still in the game, it was just one goal.”
Ward and Goumballe became the eighth and ninth Hoosiers to score on the year. Yeagley said he challenged the team to be able to contribute goals before the season, and each game has seen another player step up.
All night Northwestern had no answers for the IU attack. The Hoosiers had a season-high 19 shots, including eight on goal.
“We needed to put this game away early,” Goumballe said. “Last game when they beat us, it was 0-0, and they capitalized on a long throw. Coach just told us to be aggressive in training, and we’ve been working on creating chances.”
When the ball ended up in the Wildcats’ possession, the Hoosiers were quick to get it back. Northwestern’s lone shot was wide of the frame and sophomore goalkeeper Roman Celentano — the two-time reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week — was not forced to make a single save.
“Our team defending is an anchor of our program,” Yeagley said. “We take a lot of pride in it. That starts from the front, our organization. The way we defended men in space was fantastic tonight, and we just make it hard for teams to get comfortable.”
IU largely outproduced its performance against Northwestern on Feb. 27. In the Hoosiers’ first shot at the Wildcats, Miskovic made five saves. On Tuesday, Miskovic allowed three goals on the first five attempts.
IU also had more shots, shots on goal and corners, as well as fewer fouls and shots allowed, but Yeagley said the goal Tuesday wasn’t to get revenge.
“It’s three games [left], two really good opponents coming up, so it’s going to be a heck of a challenge,” Yeagley said. “That to me was the driving force tonight, not the fact that we dropped points.”
Although IU entered Tuesday’s game having allowed only two goals on the season, Yeagley said he hasn’t been happy with some of his team’s victories.
The first half provided the best look toward the performance Yeagley wants. The Hoosiers only allowed one shot, which was wide of the goal. IU had the ball in its offensive half most of the time and created 10 shots, four of which were on goal, and seven corners.
Goumballe’s 20th minute goal gave the Hoosiers a 2-0 lead, one they are rare to relinquish. The shutout victory was the fifth in seven games for IU this season, and Celentano has only allowed more than one goal once in his IU career.
“We take a lot of pride in those zeroes,” Yeagley said. “We don’t want to win 4-1, we’d rather win 3-0.”