Indiana men’s soccer advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, defeating the University of Virginia 1-0 Sunday.
After a thrilling 3-2 overtime win against Wake Forest University in the second round, Indiana found itself in another road match against Virginia. Sunday’s match wasn’t the high-scoring spectacle the Wake Forest game was, but both teams pushed numbers forward early in the match.
Virginia had the first dangerous opportunity with freshman forward Brendan Lamb hitting the crossbar after receiving a pass in Indiana’s box.
The Hoosiers responded quickly, scoring just 11 minutes into the match after freshman forward Collins Oduro blasted the ball past Virginia junior goalkeeper Joey Batrouni. Senior forward Maoloune Goumballe dribbled past a defender and put a low cross into the box that Oduro took advantage of to give Indiana the early lead.
“He’s in really good form,” Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said. “He’s so tough and doesn’t shy away from any challenge. He’s been really good for us it’s really hard to take Collins off the field.”
Indiana settled down after the goal, beginning to maintain possession and creating opportunities to extend its lead. Goumballe had Indiana’s most dangerous opportunity after the opening goal, finding himself open in Virginia’s box with a chance to shoot. His shot was tame though and Batrouni had no problem collecting the ball. The rest of the half was a deadlock and Indiana went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Virginia started to play more aggressively in the second half, pushing players forward and pressing Indiana in their own box. They began taking more shots, nearly equalizing with a shot outside the box junior goalkeeper JT Harms saved just two minutes into the half.
Despite the pressure mounting on Indiana’s backline, senior defender Joey Maher said he and the rest of the team were ready for the pressure.
“We know that games are gonna be like this, they’re gonna go back and forth,” Maher said. “We have to weather the storm in the time being and make plays from it, which we did.”
The best chances for Virginia came within seven minutes of each other. In the 63rd minute, Virginia freshman forward Stephen Annor headed the ball over Harms but senior defender Jansen Miller chased the ball down and cleared it off the line. Moments later it was Miller saving Indiana yet again, as he cleared another shot by Annor off the line to preserve Indiana’s lead with just 20 minutes to play.
“No nerves when number five’s back there,” Maher said. “He’s an unbelievable player and I’ve got the utmost confidence in him. He’s been unreal for us this year.”
Virginia continued to bomb forward looking for the equalizer, but they never created anything as dangerous as those two opportunities and Indiana held on to advance to the Elite Eight.
Sunday’s win marked Yeagley’s 200th career win as the head coach of Indiana men’s soccer.
“You coach long enough, you maybe get to some good numbers,” Yeagley said.
Maher, who’s playing in his fourth year under Yeagley had nothing but praise for his coach.
“Coach has been unbelievable, speaking on behalf of myself and the team,” Maher said. “He’s made me an unbelievably better player. I can’t thank Coach enough for everything he’s done for me and for this group of guys.”
Indiana’s elite eight matchup will be determined by the outcome of the University of Notre Dame’s match against Western Michigan University on Sunday. The Hoosiers will face the winner either Dec. 1 or 2.