Indiana men’s soccer defeated No. 10 Wake Forest University 3-2 in overtime Sunday. The Hoosiers will now advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
The Hoosiers started their NCAA tournament run against Lipscomb University on Thursday after failing to lock up a national seed in the tournament. Indiana took care of business, defeating Lipscomb 2-1 at home and advancing to the second round of the tournament. This set up the Hoosiers for a trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to take on the Demon Deacons.
Indiana and Wake Forest both began the match playing conservatively, with both teams trying to figure each other out early. The Demon Deacons took the lead in the 20th minute following a deflected cross by senior midfielder Jahlane Forbes.
The goal opened up the match with both teams becoming more aggressive immediately after Wake Forest took the lead. Indiana became especially demanding, pushing its backline high hoping to win the ball back in the opposing half. The Hoosiers created opportunities with their aggressive approach, outshooting the Demon Deacons 9-4 in the first half. Indiana couldn’t convert its chances though, and went into the break trailing 1-0.
Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said his message to his team at halftime was to continue putting pressure on Wake Forest and forcing mistakes.
“The press was phenomenal,” Yeagley said postgame. “That was the main message, continue to put pressure on them.”
Yeagley said he also told his team to focus on stretching the field and getting the ball to the wings.
“You saw a lot of our action around the edges,” Yeagley said. “We got corners, we got throws, or we got around them.[Wake Forest] had their numbers centrally.”
Indiana jumped into the second half with the same aggressive approach, pinning Wake Forest in their own half. The Hoosiers equalized in the 53rd minute after senior defender Hugo Bacharach headed the ball in following a corner. This goal boosted Indiana’s dominance, as the Hoosiers constantly created chances in search of a second goal. Wake Forest found the second goal before Indiana though, with sophomore midfielder Vlad Walent converting a penalty in the 66th minute for the Demon Deacons.
The Hoosiers responded just six minutes later, with senior forward Karsen Henderlong tapping the ball into the net following a series of rebounds in the Wake Forest six-yard box. The final 20 minutes of regulation were tense, with neither team taking risks and ultimately sending the match to overtime.
Indiana scored just four minutes into the first period over time, with Bacharach scoring his second goal of the day through a back-heeled finish. This also marked Indiana’s second goal from a set piece in the match, an area Yeagley was happy to see his team improve in.
“Attacking restarts, that was the key that was not unlocked earlier in the year,” Yeagley said. “A lot of our best chances tonight came off of our restarts.”
In previous years, Bacharach’s overtime goal would have ended the match and Indiana would have won via the golden goal rule. That format has been replaced by two 10-minute halves for overtime, forcing Indiana to hold on to their lead for the remainder of the match.
Despite his team scoring early in overtime, Yeagley said he still prefers the new format.
“I woulda liked golden goal tonight,” Yeagley jokingly said. “I think it’s the best rule that we that we’ve made change. I thought we managed the overtime really well after getting that goal in the first period.”
Yeagley said he was happy to be on the winning side of a NCAA Tournament match that ended in overtime.
“Overtime’s been tough to us,” Yeagley said. “I think really in most of the games we’ve lost in the Tournament have been in overtime or penalties.”