Indiana men’s soccer withheld Lipscomb University’s flourishing attack, winning 2-1 at home to advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Hoosiers, who average 0.75 goals against per game, faced a two-and-a-half goal per game Bison attack and came out on top in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Just four minutes into the game, freshman forward Collins Oduro fired a powerful shot from the right edge of the box and nearly missed the top left corner.
Both teams generated promising attacks, but the defenses were crucial in blocking shots during most of the first half.
Lipscomb found its first dangerous chance off a free kick. Junior forward Tyrese Spicer fired one over the wall and just missed senior goalkeeper JT Harms’ top left corner.
Indiana responded five minutes later with senior defender Hugo Bacharach, who headed the ball after a corner kick from junior forward Sam Sarver, but freshman goalkeeper Harrison Gough saved it effortlessly.
The Bisons were playing with their backup goalkeeper after starting freshman goalkeeper Juan Carlos Rodriguez was sent off with a handball red card in the Atlantic Sun Championship game against Bellarmine University.
Oduro opened the scoring in the 31st minute. The freshman cut to the middle and fired a shot, and Gough accepted it to put the Hoosiers ahead 1-0.
“We know that when there’s a new goalkeeper in there, we’ve got to test them,” senior forward Maouloune Goumballe said after the game.
The Bisons tried to respond with a free kick by senior forward Ploutarchos Alonefti, but Harms easily swallowed up the shot.
With mere seconds left in the first half, Oduro had a chance to increase the lead after a set up by Sarver on top of the box, but his shot was weak and Gough saved it.
Indiana didn’t create a lot of chances in the half but made the chances they did have blossom. Defensively, the Hoosiers suffered with counter attacks but could stop the Bisons’ attack with a group effort.
“The biggest thing with us is that we defend with 11,” senior defender Joey Maher said. “It’s easier to do our jobs when we have our forwards and our midfielders working their tail off for us.”
The first part of second half did not see a lot of plays until junior forward Tommy Mihalic experimented from outside the box. With 29 minutes to go, the striker fired a curling shot aimed at the top right corner and Gough made a diving save.
Off the corner, Gough made another save after Bacharach headed it inside the 6-yard box just a minute later.
Indiana doubled its lead with 16 minutes left in the game on what at first seemed to be a harmless play. Goumballe went around Lipscomb junior defender Cooper Kieran – who was trying to shield the ball and get a goal kick – and infiltrated the box from the left. The forward fired past Gough on the one-on-one and doubled the Hoosier’s lead.
Goumballe said it never crossed his mind to cross the ball.
“That’s Maouloune for you,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “He’s been Mr. November.”
After not scoring for most of the season, Goumballe scored four goals in the five games leading up to Thursday’s match.
The Bisons went on the attack to try to keep their season alive with Alonefti, who tried a couple of shots from outside the box that missed the target.
Spicer put Lipscomb back in the game with five minutes to go in regulation. After receiving the ball on the left side of the box, he fired a powerful shot past Harms to pull the Bisons within one.
“We know [Spicer] and Malachi Jones are two of the top players in the country,” Maher said. “We had to jam them early and then help and get doubles over as quick as possible, and I think that we did that well.”
The Hoosiers managed the Bisons’ offensive and did not suffer any shots in the last few minutes of the game.
Indiana finished the game with six shots on goal in 18 attempts while holding Lipscomb to five shots in 11 attempts all game.
“I really wanted this team to shut out,” Yeagley said. “I’m really happy with the performance overall on our defending side.”
With the win, Indiana advances to the round of 32 and will face No. 10 Wake Forest University on the road.
Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. Sunday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with the match being streamed live on ESPN+.