IU men’s soccer wins Big Ten tourney, NCAA bid

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Indiana’s 12th Big Ten Tournament title may have been its most unlikely. And it’s most rewarding.

Needing to win the tournament to earn a chance to defend its NCAA championship, the Hoosiers (8-11-2) completed an improbable run with a 1-0 win over Michigan State in the championship game Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Playing with a strong wind at their backs in the second half, the Hoosiers peppered the goal with shots, finally breaking through midway through the half when Jamie Vollmer got free at the top of the box and beat Michigan State keeper Zack Bennett with a left-footed blast.

“It was a good one to get, a good one for the seniors,” said Vollmer of his first career goal.

It’s been a good month for the Hoosiers, who were 5-11-1 on Nov. 1 and losers of seven of their last eight matches. But a win in the regular season finale at Northwestern seemed to revive them. They beat Michigan in the Big Ten quarterfinals, then took out top-seeded Penn State in the semifinals before Sunday’s win over Michigan State gave them an automatic berth in the NCAA championships.

“After what we did last year and having a tough season this year, it looks like we’re clicking,” Vollmer said.

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