Indiana men’s soccer took down Ohio State 3-0 Tuesday night at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington. Indiana improved to 8-3-1 this season and moved to fourth place in the Big Ten standings with 9 points.
Indiana assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Kevin Robson’s father died Monday, making it an emotional night for the team, head coach Todd Yeagley said.
“This is a game that I know our players really wanted to win for his family,” Yeagley said in a post-match press conference. “It was not the same on the bench without him, it was a big void.”
Yeagley said the team dedicated the win to Robson, who is in his eighth coaching season with Indiana.
Freshman midfielder Tommy Mihalic scored Indiana’s first goal in the 18th minute and junior forward Maouloune Goumballe scored its second in the 64th minute. Junior defender Brett Bebej capped off the win with a goal in the 85th minute off an assist from sophomore defender Lawson Redmon.
Mihalic moved himself into a three-way tie for the team lead in goals after scoring his fourth on Tuesday. Goumballe and Bebej scored their first of the season to become Indiana’s 11th and 12th goal scorers this season.
“I was hungry for a goal, obviously it was my first one,” Goumballe said. “I knew that if I put my head down and kept working the goals would come and it came today so I’m happy to get my first goal.”
Indiana and Ohio State both played physically, combining for 33 fouls in the match. Ohio State played the second half a man down after Ohio State sophomore Owen Sullivan fouled Indiana freshman Samuel Sarver and received a red card in the 45th minute.
Hoosier senior defender Nyk Sessock and Buckeyes sophomore defender Deylen Vellios each picked up yellow cards in the match.
Indiana and Ohio State had identical shot totals with 12 and four on goal, but Indiana was able to capitalize on being a man up and put the game away in the second half.
“We wanted to come in and put them down early,” Goumballe said. “We were lucky to get a red card in the first half and that definitely helped contribute to the two goals we scored in the second half.”
Junior goalkeeper Roman Celentano recorded four saves in the match, leading Indiana to its third-straight clean sheet and fourth from its last five matches. After giving up nine goals in its first seven matches, Indiana has allowed just two in its last five.
Yealgey said Celentano is getting back into his best form after second-guessing himself on decisions earlier in the season.
“I think now (Celentano) is in rhythm,” Yeagley said. “His command of his defenders is fantastic, his communication tonight on through balls and how to help with seconds and how to body guys. He made one or two saves that you need a big keeper to make.”
With a 3-0 goal differential Tuesday, the Hoosiers have outscored their opponents 24-11 this season. Indiana improved to 5-1-0 in its last six matches, only losing to Michigan in overtime across that stretch of games.
“We’re definitely seeing results in front of goal which I think we were missing in the first half of the season and things are starting to click offensively,” Goumballe said. “I definitely feel like we’re finding our stride.”
Indiana will hit the road for its next matchup against Penn State at noon Sunday in University Park, Pennsylvania. Penn State is 8-3-1 overall this season and first place in the Big Ten standings with a 4-0 record against conference opponents.
Penn State will play the University of Akron on Wednesday before it faces Indiana. Indiana faced Akron on Sept. 10, which ended in a 1-1 double-overtime draw.