After many low-scoring games in the first half of the season, Indiana men’s soccer proved it can play high-scoring soccer too with a 4-3 win over Michigan on Wednesday.
Before the Rutgers’ game on Oct. 29, the Hoosiers had not played in a game with more than three total goals all season. Now, two of their last three games have had five or more total goals.
The Hoosiers started ahead after a strike from distance by senior forward Maouloune Goumballe. The forward cleared the way after a cut to the middle and fired one on the low left corner to beat freshman goalkeeper Isaiah Goldson and put Indiana up 1-0 with 24 minutes to go in the first half.
However, the Wolverines struck back just two minutes later. Michigan junior defender Jason Bucknor received a long ball inside the box and shot it past Indiana senior goalkeeper JT Harms to tie the game 1-1.
With 10 minutes left in the half, the Hoosiers got in front again. After some chaos inside the Michigan box, senior defender Hugo Bacharach shot the ball through substantial traffic and put Indiana ahead 2-1.
The Hoosiers doubled their lead with seconds to go in the first half after a free kick from junior forward Sam Sarver. Goldson saved Sarver’s shot but couldn’t hold on to the ball, allowing junior forward Tommy Mihalic to pick up the rebound to increase Indiana’s lead to 3-1.
“We talk about it all the time, sniffers like that,” Mihalic said after the game. “I think there was five guys who could’ve scored that goal.”
Back for the second half, Michigan had nothing to lose and started to put the pressure on Indiana.
After a foul on Indiana was called right outside the box, the referee went to the VAR and switched it to a penalty for Michigan with 35 minutes left in the second half. Wolverine senior midfielder Quin Rogers stepped up and did not waste it, bringing Michigan within one goal.
Michigan tied the game with 18 minutes left after Indiana slowed down the pace. Graduate student forward Riley Ferch hit a header on the foot of the left post — unreachable for Harms — that tied the game at 3-3.
But the momentum switched after Bucknor elbowed Mihalic in the face and received his second yellow card.
After pressuring and getting good chances, Indiana finally scored with four minutes left in the game. A one-two play between Bacharach and senior defender Brett Bebej set up Bacharach for the shot inside the box. Goldson saved it but gave a rebound and Goumballe was there to win the game 4-3 for the Hoosiers.
“Definitely the best game [of my career],” Goumballe said. “I’ve never scored two goals in a game so I’m happy.”
Indiana finished the game with 15 shot attempts – seven on goal – while Michigan had nine shots on goal in 13 attempts.
The Hoosiers scored more than two goals in two of the last three games, something that had not happened all season.
“I’m fine with 1-0s,” Yeagley said. “Fans I think loved it.”
With the win, the Hoosiers advance to their seventh straight Big Ten Tournament championship and will play No. 24 Penn State.