IU soccer wins B1G tournament again

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — There have been times this season, and even on Sunday, when there was little for Indiana freshman goalkeeper Roman Celentano to do.

But on the biggest stage yet this year for the No. 8 Hoosiers, he rose to the occasion.

Celentano made a pair of huge saves to help IU edge Michigan, 4-3, in a penalty kick shootout after the two sides played to a scoreless draw through double overtime in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Sunday.

It is the 14th conference tournament crown for Indiana, which completed back-to-back doubles, winning both the regular-season and tournament titles for the second straight season.

Celentano wasn’t the only defensive standout for the Hoosiers (14-2-4), who did not give up a goal in three tournament matches. Sophomore captain Jack Maher was named Defensive Player of the Tournament, and redshirt junior left back Spencer Glass earned a spot on the all-tournament team along with freshman midfielder Aidan Morris.

While the defense was stellar against the Wolverines (11-4-5), who had just three shots on goal, the IU offense sputtered a bit after firing on all cylinders in the semifinal win against Maryland.

The Hoosiers unleashed 22 shots against the Terrapins but mustered just four on Sunday.

Two of those were near misses in the first half. In the 14th minute, Victor Bezerra unleashed a volley from the right side of the box that required a fingertip save from Michigan’s Owen Finnerty.

Just 10 minutes later, fellow freshman Josh Penn cut in and back out before firing a right-footed shot through traffic that Finnerty smothered to keep the game scoreless.

Indiana also had five first-half corner kicks, but did not have a shot or a corner through the second half and the first overtime, perhaps as fatigue set in from Friday’s double overtime match.

Michigan had six shots, two on goal in the second half, but nothing that truly threatened Celentano. The Wolverines’ best chance came in the 53rd minute when a turnover saw Derick Broche all alone in the box with a clean look, but the shot sailed high.

Once overtime began, the Hoosiers looked more like themselves, giving as much pressure as they took.

However, it wasn’t until the waning seconds of the second extra session that Indiana had a chance to score the game-winner.

A.J. Palazzolo flicked a long throw into the middle of the box, where Simon Waever and Thomas Warr collided before Waever had a shot blocked. The ball rebounded to Aidan Morris near the top of the box, but his shot was also blocked as time expired.

That sent the match to a shootout, and Celentano immediately saved the first attempt by Jackson Ragen.

Joe Schmidt converted his PK to give Indiana a 1-0, and each side made their next two tries to make it 3-2.

Celentano then made his second save diving to his right, denying Kevin Buca. Maher had a chance to win it for the Hoosiers, just as he did from the spot on Friday, but this time he tried to go right and Finnerty made the save to keep it at 3-2.

After another Wolverine make, Penn stepped up with a chance to win it and made no mistake, hitting his shot off of Finnerty’s hand and into the right side of the goal to give Indiana a sweep of the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles for the 10th time and first since the 1998-99 seasons.

IU now awaits Monday’s NCAA Tournament draw at 1 p.m. The Hoosiers are expected to receive one of the top 16 seeds and will host a second-round match next weekend.

2 comments

  1. It would be great to see IU put a ninth star on their uniforms by winning another NCAA title. I just hope they get to rest before the tourney starts. Back-to-back overtime games will trash even the youngest and most fit legs in soccer.

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