Indiana Daily Student

Amidst fouls, Indiana men’s soccer beats Ohio State 3-0 for first Big Ten win at home

Then-sophomore defender Brett Bebej passes the ball March 23, 2021 in Bill Armstrong Stadium. Bebej scored a goal in the 85th minute of Indiana's 3-0 win against Ohio State on Tuesday night.
Then-sophomore defender Brett Bebej passes the ball March 23, 2021 in Bill Armstrong Stadium. Bebej scored a goal in the 85th minute of Indiana's 3-0 win against Ohio State on Tuesday night.

In a game largely defined by its physical play, Indiana pulled out a dominant win over Ohio State 3-0, its first Big Ten win at home this season. Indiana improved to 3-2 in conference play.

A well-populated Bill Armstrong Stadium saw a gritty match from both teams, with Indiana and Ohio State recording 18 and 15 fouls, respectively. Ohio State had one yellow card and one red card, with Indiana receiving one yellow card.

Neither team seemed afraid to hold back in tackles or charges and in a play that would greatly impact the strategies of both teams, Ohio State received a red card just as the first half ended.

Related: Indiana men’s soccer beats Ohio State 3-0 in Bloomington

Freshman forward Samuel Sarver drew the red-card foul from Ohio State sophomore defender Owen Sullivan, leading a solo charge down the field in the 45th minute. Sarver carved through Ohio State’s defense and recived a through ball, hoping to add to freshman forward Tommy Mihalic’s goal that put Indiana up 1-0 in the 18th minute. 

“The red card changed the game,” head coach Todd Yeagley said, praising Sarver for his contributions in the match. “His speed and his opportunistic mentality really changed the game.”

Sarver also drew a yellow-card-inducing foul from sophomore Buckeye defender Deylen Vellios in the 33rd minute and continued to put pressure on the Buckeye defense throughout the game with his lightning-fast runs down the field.

Ohio State played with 10 players for the entirety of the second half, something Yeagley said was beneficial overall, but led to some misplays by Indiana. 

“They kind of lull you to sleep and you take a risk, the field’s a little bit slippery right now and you lose the ball in a moment, and they catch it,” he said of Ohio State’s strategy in the second half. 

Ohio State showed determination with one less player on the field, causing even more pressure for Indiana to defend against any chances Ohio State had to flip momentum. Indiana committed 11 of its 18 fouls in the second half.

“We did have quite a few unnecessary fouls in the second half, which really was the chances they were getting,” Yeagley said. “I thought we defended them well but we have to be a little bit smarter with not giving up fouls."

The Hoosiers took advantage of the 10 Buckeyes on the field in the second half to put up two more goals. Junior forward Maouloune Goumballe sent in a sailing shot from outside the 18-yard box in the 64th minute and junior defender Brett Bebej locked in the win in the 85th minute with a clean shot into the bottom right of the goal. 

“We were lucky to get a red card in the first half,” Goumballe said. “We just knew Ohio State might be a little bit more defensive, so we focused on keeping the ball in their half and applying pressure more.”

Indiana senior defender Nyk Sessock was given a yellow card in the 68th minute after a hard mid-air collision with senior Joe Ortiz.

Related: Indiana men’s soccer’s Daniel Munie wins second Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award

With the win, Indiana now moves up to fourth place in the Big Ten Conference with 9 points. Indiana is now only 3 points behind Penn State and 1 point behind Wisconsin and Maryland each.

Indiana has three more conference matchups against Penn State, Wisconsin and Maryland — currently the top three teams in the conference. Indiana will travel to University Park, Pennsylvania, to face Penn State, who is undefeated in four conference games, at noon on Sunday.

“We’re just really happy with 3 points, and we move on to the next Big Ten game,” Yeagley said. “They’re all challenging in different ways.”

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