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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's soccer

Indiana men’s soccer hands Penn State first Big Ten loss, keeps conference title hopes alive


Indiana men’s soccer took down Penn State 1-0 Sunday at Jeffrey Field in University Park, Pennsylvania. With the win, Indiana moved into a first-place tie atop the Big Ten standings alongside Penn State with 12 points, which came into the match with a perfect 4-0 record in conference play. 

Indiana improved to 9-3-1 overall and 4-2-0 in the Big Ten this season. 

Senior defender Nyk Sessock created Indiana’s only goal of the game with a cross into the 18-yard box, but it was Penn State senior defender Brandon Hackenberg who finished it. Hackenberg, who had Indiana sophomore forward Nate Ward on his hip, tried to head Sessock’s cross away but ultimately put it past junior goalkeeper Kris Shakes, scoring an own goal.

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

“It was terribly unlucky to concede the goal in that manner – that’s part of the game sometimes,” Penn State head coach Jeff Cook said.

Indiana led the game in shots with a 14-11 advantage but took one less shot on goal than Penn State’s five. Freshman midfielder Tommy Mihalic led the way for Indiana offensively with six shots and two on goal. 

Junior goalkeeper Roman Celentano, the reigning Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, secured another shutout for the Hoosiers saving five shots, all of which came in the first half. With the wind at its back, the Nittany Lions offense created a number of dangerous goal-scoring opportunities, but Celentano made multiple diving stops to keep them off the board.

“There’s a lot to be proud of today, would’ve loved to win the game, but again this is a long season and we’ll fight right until the very end,” Cook said.

The Hoosiers have seven shutouts this season and haven’t given up a goal in their last four matches. They have also outscored their opponents 18-3 over their last seven matches and posted a 6-1-0 record across that stretch after starting the season 3-2-1. 

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

Indiana’s hopes of securing a fourth-straight regular-season title stayed alive with the win, but five teams have at least 10 points in the conference standings. The top four teams in the conference will earn home-field advantage in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Michigan, Wisconsin and Maryland are in a three-way tie for third in the Big Ten with 10 points each. Michigan, who beat Indiana in overtime Oct. 1, beat the previously-unbeaten Wisconsin 1-0 on Friday. Wisconsin and Maryland have both played one less game than Indiana. 

Indiana will play Wisconsin at 1 p.m. next Sunday in Bloomington before facing Maryland in its regular-season finale at 1 p.m. Oct. 31 in College Park, Maryland. 

Before its next Big Ten matchup, Indiana will play the University of Evansville at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington. Evansville is 1-10-1 this season with a 0-7-0 record at home.

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