Tradition is not built overnight. Indiana men’s soccer won 1-0 over Penn State, winning its 16th Big Ten Tournament title.
The Hoosiers controlled the first half and showed why home field advantage is important.
Just two minutes into the game, senior forward Maouloune Goumballe set junior forward Sam Sarver on the left side of the box, but Sarver fired it over the bar.
Freshman forward Collins Oduro fired a dangerous shot in the 13th minute. From outside the box, Oduro shot looking for the right corner, but senior goalkeeper Kris Shakes tipped it wide.
With 20 minutes of play, senior defender Jansen Miller headed one off the corner and Shakes was there to save it.
Shakes made another save just two minutes later when Oduro set up Sarver inside the box for a point-blank shot. A minute later, Shakes made all kinds of saves after a chaotic sequence inside Penn State’s box to keep the Hoosiers off the board.
Indiana’s goal finally came in the 38th minute. On the run on the left side, Sarver received the ball from senior forward Karsen Henderlong, then cut to the middle and fired from outside the box aiming for the low right corner. His shot was slightly tipped by the defense, taking Shakes out of the play and putting Indiana ahead 1-0.
“Our coach always says, ‘Pressure is a privilege,’” Sarver said after the game. “I was never really in doubt with our team.”
With two minutes left in the half, Penn State had its first shot attempt of the game. Junior midfielder Ben Liscum infiltrated the box from the left and fired a shot that was blocked by senior defender Joey Maher.
The Hoosiers finished the first half with nine total shots – three on goal – while the Nittany Lions had only one shot attempt. On top of that, Indiana had three corners as opposed to Penn State’s one and had 56% of the total ball possession.
“We’ve been locked in all year,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “I feel like we’ve been really good defensively.”
In the second half, Indiana played more cautiously, holding on to the ball and choosing its attacks more carefully.
The Hoosiers had a couple of plays with senior defender Brett Bebej and Sarver in the first part of the second half, but no danger came of those.
In the final third of the second half, Penn State started to launch itself forward and cross the ball toward Indiana’s box in hopes of getting something. Freshman defender Morgan Marshall headed one from the top of the box that went over the goal, dangerously close to the crossbar.
The Hoosiers responded after with Henderlong and junior forward Tommy Mihalic. Henderlong fired a shot very similar to Sarver’s goal but, this time, Shakes made the diving save to tip it wide and Mihalic fired a shot from inside the box, but Shakes made a reflex save.
With five minutes to go, Penn State senior forward Peter Mangione forced Indiana senior goalkeeper JT Harms to make a diving save after a curling shot from outside the box.
The Nittany Lions’ last chance came with two minutes to go when freshman forward Samson Kpardeh shot the ball over the bar from inside the box.
“I think the team showed a lot of courage trying to defend every single ball,” senior defender Hugo Bacharach said. “They didn’t get the goal and we’re champions now so it worked out.”
Indiana had 16 shot attempts – six of those on goal – while Penn State had only three shots on goal in 12 attempts.
After the final whistle, fans from the student section ran into the field to celebrate the title with the players.
“I loved that,” Yeagley said. “To be a student here and to get to celebrate a Big Ten Championship with your players is awesome.”
Indiana shared the regular season title with Penn State and then beat them in the Big Ten Tournament final to claim the Big Ten title. The next goal is the NCAA Tournament national championship in early December.
“Feels good but I want that third trophy,” Goumballe said.
Now, the Hoosiers wait for the NCAA seedings to see if they will have a bye in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The seeding selection will be announced 1 p.m. Nov. 13 and will be streamed live here.