Indiana men’s soccer withheld Wisconsin’s second half siege and came out with a 2-1 victory to advance to the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals Friday night.
On their first attack of the first half, the Hoosiers got a penalty after Wisconsin’s senior midfielder Maxwell Keegan fouled Indiana’s freshman forward Collins Oduro with 33 minutes to play.
Senior defender Joey Maher took the penalty kick and did not waste it. He fired low on the right while junior goalkeeper Nate Crockford dove left, putting the Hoosiers ahead 1-0.
“It’s kind of been decided on the spot,” Maher said postgame about the decision of who was taking the penalty. “We have multiple guys very capable of doing this because they’ve done this at the highest level, some of them at the national championship.”
Around 10 minutes later, with 21 minutes to go in the half, senior forward Karsen Henderlong shot from the top of the box, but it was deflected just to the right of the goal.
In an uneventful first half, Indiana controlled the ball and did not suffer any dangerous attacks from Wisconsin despite the Badgers’ decision to switch up their formation.
“It was a bit of a stagnant first 20 minutes,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “[Wisconsin] had not played with three in the middle all season and it threw us off a little bit.”
Indiana started the second half the same way it started the first — with a goal. In its first offensive effort, junior forward Sam Sarver slipped past three defenders on the left and centered the ball for senior forward Maouloune Goumballe, who tapped it in to double the Hoosiers’ lead.
“Feels good, I knew that second goal would be important” Goumballe said after the game. “Getting that second goal created that separation allowed us to win the game.”
After the goal, Indiana had a few opportunities with freshman defender Alex Barger and Sarver but couldn’t execute.
With nothing to lose, the Badgers launched themselves forward and started to generate chances. Their first shot on goal came after a cut to the middle by junior forward Kevin Andrews, who shot it straight into senior goalkeeper JT Harms’ hands with 24 minutes left in the game.
Wisconsin scored 10 minutes later in an attempt to keep its season alive. After a cross from the right, senior midfielder Maxwell Keegan jumped higher than everyone and headed it into the top right corner, out of the reach of Harms to make it 2-1.
Reaching for a comeback, the Badgers relentlessly attacked the Hoosiers. With 11 minutes to go, Harms saved a point-blank shot by freshman forward Roman Eisa and, a minute later, sophomore defender Nils Vallotto fired one from the right that breezed past the left post.
After a bad clear by Indiana’s defense, freshman forward Markie Hrvojevic shot one from a half-volley that went just over the crossbar with seven minutes left in the game.
With one minute left, graduate student midfielder Tim Bielic tried a curling shot from outside the box, but Harms saved it.
“They gave us a lot of problems,” Maher said. “The biggest thing for us was just weathering the storm.”
The Hoosiers controlled most of the game and survived the last stretch to advance to the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals, where they play Michigan.
“It’s good that you can win those games with a lot of pressure and then learn from it a little bit, and then get better if we’re in the same situation next time,” Yeagley said.
Kickoff is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Bill Armstrong Stadium and the game will be streamed live on Big Ten Network.