Indiana men’s soccer defeated Michigan in a 4-3 goal fest and booked its ticket to its seventh consecutive Big Ten Tournament final.
Indiana continued its Big Ten Tournament run Wednesday night, facing off against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal. Indiana advanced to this point following a narrow 2-1 win against Wisconsin, where the Hoosiers were just able to hold on to their lead in the final minutes.
Wednesday night’s game was the second matchup between the Hoosiers and Wolverines this season, with both teams settling for a scoreless draw in their regular season game. A draw wasn’t on the cards this time around, with a spot in the Big Ten Tournament final up for grabs.
It was another close matchup between the teams, but it was far from the scoreless deadlock from their first encounter. There were four goals in the first half alone, with both teams scoring their first goal within a minute of each other.
Senior forward Maoloune Goumballe opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a low-driven shot into the bottom left corner, giving Indiana an early lead. The lead didn’t last long though, as Michigan junior defender Jason Bucknor quickly equalized the match in the 21st minute, stunning Indiana.
The Hoosiers recovered quickly, regaining the lead after senior defender Hugo Bacharach slotted the ball into the bottom corner with a left-footed strike. Indiana continued with its attacking approach and added a third goal with just seconds left in the first half. Junior forward Tommy Mihalic took advantage of a mistake from Michigan freshman goalkeeper Isaiah Goldson, giving the Hoosiers a 3-1 lead going into the break.
Indiana saw its lead quickly cut after Michigan converted a penalty in the 53rd minute, with the Wolverines beginning to put high pressure on the Hoosiers’ back line. Michigan’s aggressive approach was rewarded once again in the 71st minute, drawing the match level following a header from graduate midfielder Riley Ferch.
The pressure was mounting for the Hoosiers after seeing their two-goal lead quickly disappear, and head coach Todd Yeagley said his team’s energy wasn’t the same in the moments after the equalizer.
“I thought the guys got a little bit quiet during that phase it was 3-3,” Yeagley said.
Indiana caught a bit of momentum just five minutes after the equalizer, as Bucknor was sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the match. Michigan was down to 10 men with 15 minutes to go, putting Indiana in prime position to search for the winning goal.
The winning goal came in the 86th minute, as Goumballe got his second goal of the day and his third in the last two matches.
Goumballe had a slow start to the season, failing to score until Indiana’s match against Trine University on Oct. 27. Goumballe said scoring in the Trine match was a big reason for his current goal-scoring form.
“It was important for the confidence,” Goumballe said after the Michigan match.
Goumballe also said Wednesday night’s performance was his best as a Hoosier.
“Definitely the best game,” Goumballe said. “I’ve never scored two goals in a game, so I’m happy it was my first.”
Mihalic scored his first goal of the season against Trine as well, which he said did a lot for his confidence going forward.
“It’s nice to see, as a forward, to see the ball hit the net,” Mihalic said. “I struggled with that the majority of the season, but like I said, I’ve done a good job right now of just keeping my head straight and not letting it bring me down at all.”
Indiana will face Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament final, whom they shared the regular season title with. The match is set to kick off at noon Sunday at Bill Armstrong Stadium and will be televised on Big Ten Network.