IU soccer headed back to College Cup #iums

For 63 minutes and 38 seconds, the tension built among the 5,159 people in attendance at Armstrong Stadium on Friday night.

One second later, it erupted when Indiana’s Austin Panchot put a pin the Notre Dame balloon.

Panchot headed home a cross from Andrew Gutman in the 64th minute, and the Hoosier defense made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Fighting Irish and a return trip to the College Cup, the program’s 20th all-time.

Top-ranked and second-seeded IU (20-2-1) will face a familiar foe in Big Ten rival Maryland, the No. 11 seed, at the national semifinals in Santa Barbara, Calif., but Friday was just about getting there … again.

“It’s relief right at the whistle, like game’s over, we did it,” said Gutman, one of Indiana’s two MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalists. “But for me, my mindset kind of switches to next week, who are we going to play? Enjoy tonight but tomorrow we get back to work, start breaking down Maryland and start getting ready for California.”

The eighth-largest crowd in school history propelled the Hoosiers to the finish, but in the first half the added pressure was almost too much.

Indiana struggled to find its rhythm, narrowly avoiding going down a goal.

“They were really anxious in the first half,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said. “We knew the crowd would be a great help, but I think they played a little bit like we need to go and score on every play, when they needed to move Notre Dame around a little bit and find the gaps, and we just weren’t patient enough.”

The Irish (11-7-3) almost cashed in on that impatience in the 27th minute when a cross from the left wing found the head of Sean MacLeod, who sent the ball back across the goal only to see goalkeeper Trey Muse, IU’s other MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, make a one-handed save at full extension to push it wide.

A follow-up fell in front of goal but was ultimately deflected wide by freshman center back Jack Maher.

The Hoosiers knew they dodged a bullet.

“Thank God,” Panchot said of his reaction. “That was a helluva save. It always gives us confidence when we know Trey can do that, but it was a good wake-up call, something where we knew we needed to raise the level, because we shouldn’t be giving up those opportunities.”

When all was said and done, each team finished with four shots in the opening 45 minutes, while the Irish had two corner kicks to Indiana’s none.

The second half started a little bit shaky when a turnover gave Notre Dame’s Thomas Euland an uncontested look from 20 yards out that went wide left, but it was the last shot the Irish would attempt.

The IU defense locked down from there, and the offense steadily gained traction.

In the 60th minute, the substitution of co-captain Frankie Moore, who did not start the game due to injury, and Jordan Kleyn, allowing Rece Buckmaster to move from right back into the midfield, pushed the Hoosiers over the top.

“We know Kleyn’s always ready to come off the bench, and he did well,” Panchot said. “Frankie’s been a staple for us, so it’s always a boost for us when you get Frank on the field, and it gives guys around him confidence, and we were pushing, and things started to click.”

In the 64th minute, Trevor Swartz sent a pass to Gutman racing around the left side of the defense, and IU’s leading scorer sent a laser across the mouth of the goal with Panchot waiting at the back post to head home the ball from point-blank range.

“Luckily, I got around the edge and just whipped it across blindly, and Panchot was right there to tap it home,” Gutman said. “… Once we got that goal, we weren’t giving up a goal.”

Swartz was credited with an assist, his 16th of the season, tying Armando Betancourt for third-most in a single season at IU.

If anything, the Hoosiers were unlucky not to add a second goal as they ramped up the pressure, while Notre Dame could not find a way through an IU defense determined to record its fourth straight shutout and grab it’s 20th win, the most in a season since 1999.

5 comments

  1. The B1G is by far the best soccer conference in men’s soccer. IU and Maryland already punched their tickets. MSU still has a chance. Plus, IU went undefeated in conference and won the B10 tourney. What Yeagley has done this year is amazing especially after the heartache of losing to Stanford last year. He builds teams like no other coach. All of our coaches should go to his office and take notes. Well done boys. Well done. IU should take all money allocated for football and give to soccer.

    1. IU’s success in soccer is staggering. In 45 years of competition they have played in the title game 15 times, winning eight.

      They have made the Final Four (College Cup) twenty times.

      All that while playing in the toughest conference for the sport.

    1. The College Cup games are on ESPNU, which means if you’re on the go, you can see it online at Watch ESPN or the ESPN app with a tv provider sign-in. IU plays around 10:30ish Friday night, and if the Hoosiers win, the championship game is 8 p.m. Sunday.

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