Indiana men’s soccer has not lost a game in the Big Ten Tournament since 2018. The team looks for its 11th straight victory when it faces Northwestern on Wednesday in Bloomington.
No. 3 seed Indiana gets the home field advantage over No. 7 seed Northwestern, something both head coach Todd Yeagley and his players are excited about.
“Any time you can play in front of your home fans, that trumps everything,” Yeagley said in a postgame press conference Sunday. “The travel and ease of this week is going to give us the best chance to advance.”
The Hoosiers played the quarterfinal against Rutgers at Bill Armstrong Stadium, beating the Scarlet Knights 1-0 with a goal from freshman forward Samuel Sarver in the 27th minute. Sarver leads the team with seven goals and 18 points.
Sarver also scored a goal in Indiana’s 2-1 win over Northwestern on Sept. 21, with junior forward Herbert Endeley putting up the second goal. In the match, Indiana outshot Northwestern 7-5, and both goalkeepers made one save. Three players also received yellow cards.
Northwestern took down No. 2 seed Maryland on Sunday after penalty kicks. Northwestern advanced 3-2 on penalty kicks after Maryland’s last shot bounced off the crossbar.
“Northwestern is a tough out,” Yeagley said. “They’ve got some good attackers. They’re going to be a tough opponent.”
The Wildcats have been outshot 218-125 and outscored 19-18 by opponents this season. They have a 3-5 conference record and only won one conference away game in the regular season, beating the Wisconsin Badgers in October.
Indiana has only allowed two goals since Oct. 1 and have a total of 10 clean sheets on the season after their win over Rutgers. Yeagley said the team’s ability to hold a lead and not allow goals largely comes down to distribution and communication in the back field.
“Our terminology got cleaner, our functional clearances got better, we didn’t put guys in tough spots,” he said. “We’ve addressed our restarts late in games.”
Another key aspect of Indiana’s team is the depth of the bench. Seventeen saw time against Rutgers and only two defenders, sophomore Joey Maher and junior Daniel Munie, played the full 90 minutes alongside goalkeeper junior Roman Celentano.
“I think our depth is going to carry this team,” Yeagley said.
The victor will face either No. 1 seed Penn State or No. 4 seed Michigan, who play at 12 p.m. Wednesday in the championship match.
Indiana will kickoff against Northwestern at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The match will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.