Sunday’s season-closing match between Indiana men’s soccer and Maryland extended a running rivalry in the latest match with Big Ten title implications. Indiana lost 2-0.
Maryland scored both goals in the second half, taking advantage of Indiana’s inability to get on the board in the first half.
“This game was tight,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “Both teams had good chances.”
Indiana finishes the season with a 12-4-1 overall record and a 5-3 conference record to put them at third in conference standings behind champions Penn State and Maryland.
The Terrapins entered the second half of the match at full force after only putting up three shots in the first half. They controlled possession immediately, putting up two shots that were blocked by Hoosier defenders. In the 49th minute, Maryland junior defender Ryan Blumberg was able to push a corner kick past junior goalkeeper Roman Celentano to put the Terrapins up 1-0.
“Once they got that first one they were very much feeling good,” Yeagley said. “It kind of rattled us a little bit, and I didn’t like the way we responded.”
Blumberg’s goal ended Indiana’s seven-game clean-sheet run. Indiana went 725 minutes without allowing a goal.
Less than 10 minutes later, sophomore midfielder Ben Bender snuck a shot past Celentano to secure Maryland’s lead. Celentano and Bender had faced off in a penalty kick two minutes earlier where Celentano was able to make the save.
Celentano finished the match with nine saves as the Hoosier defense allowed 11 shots on goal and 17 shots total. The Hoosiers finished with nine shots and four shots on goal, all of which were saved by Maryland’s junior goalkeeper Niklas Neumann.
Neumann kept Indiana from getting the ball into the 18-yard box and effectively shut down Indiana’s offensive charges. However, Yeagley said he still saw positives from his team throughout the match, even at the very end.
“There was a good mentality surge at the end to try to get back into it,” he said. “They didn’t have any quit in them. They were tired, but they were working hard and trying to make plays.”
The Hoosiers created more chances against Neumann and the rest of the Terrapins defense in the first half, putting up six shots and dominating possession of the ball. Junior forward Herbert Endeley and freshman forward Samuel Sarver both had solo runs and created multiple goal-scoring opportunities, but ultimately could not convert.
Yeagley said he is focused on set pieces going forward and making sure the team can adjust during the game to capitalize on them. Both Maryland and Indiana had multiple similar chances with corner kicks, he said, but Indiana was unable to make use of them which was ultimately the differentiating factor in the game.
With the loss, Indiana finishes third in the Big Ten, receiving the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. Penn State, who beat Wisconsin 2-0 on Saturday, holds the No. 1 seed after winning the regular-season title.
“We have a lot to play for in front of us,” Yeagley said. “It’s very disappointing to have a title opportunity and not find it, but we’ll get our heads back up and get ready for next Sunday.”
Conference play begins Sunday, Nov. 7, with Indiana facing the No. 6 seed in Bloomington.