Indiana Daily Student

Dynamic attack overwhelms UNC Greensboro, Indiana men’s soccer cruises to College Cup

<p>Then-freshman forward Samuel Sarver celebrates the win against Northwestern in the semifinals of the Big Ten Men’s Soccer Tournament Nov. 10, 2021, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Indiana men&#x27;s soccer will move on to compete in the NCAA College Cup beginning Dec. 9.</p>

Then-freshman forward Samuel Sarver celebrates the win against Northwestern in the semifinals of the Big Ten Men’s Soccer Tournament Nov. 10, 2021, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Indiana men's soccer will move on to compete in the NCAA College Cup beginning Dec. 9.

The accolades are well documented. The talent, that has soared to Major League Soccer and beyond over the program’s 50-year history, has written the story of Indiana men’s soccer.

After a decisive 2-0 win over the University of North Carolina Greensboro in the NCAA Elite Eight on Saturday night, the Hoosiers’ will continue dancing into the College Cup for the 22nd time in school history. The tradition of excellence — which is synonymous with the legendary father-son duo of former Indiana coach Jerry Yeagley and current coach Todd Yeagley, along with former coach Mike Freitag — continues to make a stamp on sport.

“The Yeagley’s have put together a dynasty,” junior goalkeeper JT Harms said after the match. “It’s a tradition of excellence, and that’s where we are right now.”

Despite a rocky regular season marked by defensive inconsistencies and a murky goalkeeping situation, Indiana has clicked from the outset of the NCAA Tournament. With three consecutive clean sheets, the veteran back line captained by redshirt senior Daniel Munie has stifled multiple powerful offensive forces.

Against the Spartans, despite another near flawless performance from junior goalkeeper JT Harms and his defenders, it was the Hoosiers’ attack that paved the way for the victory. Coach Todd Yeagley’s squad has displayed potent goal-scoring ability throughout the season, but a newfound insatiable press has unleashed the group of dynamic forwards.

“I feel really good. You want this to happen,” Yeagley said regarding the team peaking come tournament time. “You see what’s happening now. Some of the players that maybe were inconsistent in the first quarter, or third, of the year are now really putting in consistent shifts.”

From the first kick on Saturday night, Indiana was in control. As the Hoosiers continued to stuff the Spartans into a deeper defensive block, dangerous chances were frequent. UNC Greensboro junior goalkeeper Niclas Wild made brilliant efforts to fend off shots, but in the 16th minute, Indiana found the breakthrough.

Senior forward Maouloune Goumballe, whose combination of strength and speed have earned him a spot in the starting rotation for the tournament, put his physicality on full display as he received a throw in at the edge of the box. He flicked the ball to his right, and with a defender on his hip, fired a volley into the upper right-hand netting.

The highlight-worthy strike was Goumballe’s first goal of the season. Despite a lack of regular season production, his undeniable talent is showing when the Hoosiers’ needed it most.

“Seeing it on the pitch I couldn’t believe it,” Harms said. “I was in disbelief. That’s a special moment and that’s a moment that wins you big games. And a player like that, he puts in all the work (and) a lot of what he does on the field goes unsung. I’m so happy for him.”

Harms, who is a roommate with Goumballe, spoke on the forward’s humble nature.

“I always knew him as a workhorse,” Harms said. “I know him as a hard-working kid, humble, lead by example type of player and a kid you want to go to battle with.”

Though largely ineffective in the win over Saint Louis, sophomore attacker Sam Sarver has played an integral role for the second consecutive contest. His blistering speed and quick changes of direction are a nightmare for opposing defenders, and he drew a handful of fouls in the early segments of the match.

In the 64th minute, sophomore midfielder Patrick McDonald dispossessed a UNC Greensboro player around midfield. McDonald sent a through ball to his left, and like a bullet, Sarver burst down the pitch and slotted away a breakaway goal.

“Once you slip Sammy through, no one’s going to catch him. He’s the fastest guy on the field in any given game,” McDonald said. “I knew he was going to beat the guy and get a one-on-one with the keeper, and in my head, I was just saying please score, please score, please score. He did, and it was awesome. The celebration matched the goal.”

To Yeagley, no one deserved the goals as much as Sarver and Goumballe.

“Two guys that really needed goals that were playing well were Maouloune and Sammy,” Yeagley said. “That’s going to propel us to this next game even more so. I’m really excited about those two getting those goals.”

As the Hoosiers now embark on their 22nd College Cup, the group’s confidence is truly beginning to take shape. Indiana will travel to Cary, North Carolina, to take on the University of Pittsburgh next Friday, Dec. 9, in a rematch of the 2020-2021 semifinals.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misnamed former Indiana men's soccer head coach Jerry Yeagley.

Follow reporters Kamil Gut (@GutKamil) and Matt Press (@MattPress23) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s soccer season.

Like what you're reading?

Get more award-winning content delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Recap.

Signup today!
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 Indiana Daily Student