Pouring rain meant a delayed start. A 0-0 tie at the end of regulation meant overtime. A golden goal from freshman forward Tommy Mihalic meant an Indiana men’s soccer win, and that meant a first place spot in Big Ten standings.
Indiana played its final home conference match Sunday against Wisconsin, going to double overtime before winning 1-0 on Mihalic’s 106th minute goal. Indiana is now 5-2 in conference play and has won its last three conference games.
“I knew the margins were tight in this conference, maybe more than ever,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “We flipped the switch a bit and got those two important results out of the second half of the Big Ten season.”
Indiana put up clean sheets against Ohio State and Penn State in back-to-back matches before facing Wisconsin.
Wisconsin, who is now 3-3-1 in conference play, posed a threat to Indiana in the first half, putting up three shots on goal. Yeagley said his team wasn’t clean enough in the beginning, losing possession of the ball and lacking some offensive support, and had a tough time reading the shape of Wisconsin’s attack.
“We weren’t super sharp, didn’t have the mobility,” Yeagley said. “I don’t think we created enough in the attack.”
But as the match continued, the Hoosiers adjusted and found their rhythm, putting up 10 shots in the second half. That rhythm continued into overtime.
“We felt that momentum, and then we knew before that second overtime we were going to get something,” Mihalic said. “It played out that way, so it’s just a huge win.”
Mihalic said the win gives the team the confidence and momentum they need going into the final week of the regular season.
With the win, Indiana moves up to first place in Big Ten standings with 15 points, followed by Maryland and Michigan with 12. With the first place standing, Indiana is currently in position to be the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament.
Indiana is set to face Maryland in the final match of the season next Sunday, which could be a preview for the title game.
“If all the math adds up, it’s the title game in Maryland,” Yeagley said. “We’ll know a lot more on Tuesday about what everything is but I believe we control our destiny with a win.”
Maryland is 4-1-1 in conference play and will play Penn State on Tuesday. Penn State, who sat undefeated in the conference until its 1-0 loss to Indiana, is 4-2 in the conference, also with 12 points.
Yeagley said he’s excited to face Maryland and the possibility of a title game. He added he’s glad to be in control of his team’s results and not waiting for another team to win or lose.
“Any time you can get into a title game or there’s a trophy on the table, that’s a really good thing,” he said. “I’m really happy for the team because those games are hard to get into.”