IU soccer rolls into Big Ten final, 4-0

WESTFIELD — Cory Thomas broke the ice, Andrew Gutman broke the game open and Francesco Moore and Austin Panchot added on as Indiana broke through to the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the first time since 2014 with a dominating 4-0 win over Ohio State in Friday’s semifinals at Grand Park.

The No. 2 Hoosiers (15-0-4) will take on Wisconsin (10-4-4) on Sunday at noon in the finals of the tournament in a bid for their first conference tourney crown since 2013. The game will be a rematch of last year’s semifinals, won by the Badgers on penalty kicks.

“It’s been the story the last two or three years, this group has success with wins and losses, with performance and is really, really good but falls just a little short,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said. “The last two years, going out on penalties and outplaying teams in those games, we felt, was hard. There’s a burning desire for this group to get over the hump. This is a real motivated group.”

On Friday it was a more efficient group as well. After needing 34 shots to find the game-winner in Monday’s quarterfinal game against Penn State, the Hoosiers scored their four goals on just 17 shots against the Buckeyes.

The first goal came on just the third shot in the 17th minute. Trevor Swartz slotted a ball into the left side of the box for Gutman, who immediately crossed the ball in front where a sliding Thomas knocked home the game’s first goal.

The score was still just 1-0 at halftime, but it didn’t take long for Indiana to build its advantage in the second half.

Thomas had an early close-range chance saved, and moments later Gutman took a rip from long distance. The ball appeared to be rolling harmlessly into the arms of Ohio State goalkeeper Kevin Siegfried, but he fumbled the ball to his right and it rolled into the goal before he or a defender could recover. It put the Hoosiers up 2-0 in the 47th minute.

Fifteen minutes later, Moore left no doubt. Swartz lofted a corner kick from the left side that found Moore in stride near the penalty spot for full volley that rocketed into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

Just for good measure, Panchot finished things off in the 71st minute, nodding him a cross by Rece Buckmaster from the right end line. Freshman Justin Rennicks also picked up first career point on the play for his pass to Buckmaster.

Meanwhile, the Indiana defense recorded its 15th shutout of the season, the most for the Hoosiers since 16 shutouts in 2001.