Seventh-seeded Indiana found the back of the net in the 54th minute and made that goal stand up for a 1-0 victory over visiting Akron Sunday afternoon in a second-round NCAA Tournament game at Armstrong Stadium.
The game-winner was credited to Billy McConnell, who flicked Tanner Thompson’s corner kick into the path of onrushing Akron defender Brad Ruhaak. The ball caromed off Ruhaak’s shoulder and into the net, setting off a Hoosier celebration.
“Tanner just played a great ball in, I got a flick on it, deflected in,” McConnell said. “I didn’t really see it until it actually went in, but I got a head on it and the defenders, they weren’t able to react in time.”
The Hoosiers (12-1-7) indeed created their fair share of danger, but again struggled to find the finish until they created their own luck.
Indiana finished with a 13-12 advantage in shots, 4-3 in shots on goal.
Meanwhile, the IU defense made sure the offense had plenty of time to do its work, limiting a potent Akron (13-6-3) offensive attack that was shut out for just the third time all season and first since Sept. 27.
The Hoosiers advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year despite playing without midfielder Trevor Swartz, who sat out after taking a knee to the face in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal against Wisconsin that required stitches.
Indiana, which is now 8-0-3 at home this season, will host Virginia Tech at 1 p.m. next Sunday. The Hokies upset 10th-seeded Charlotte, 3-2, Sunday.