The Indiana men's soccer team is on a roll at the moment, having begun their "revenge tour" with a win over the Michigan Wolverines, 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday night. At Thursday's awards banquet, some of the Hoosiers were rewarded for their play during the regular season.
The win over the Wolverines not only put the Hoosiers into the semi-finals of the Big Ten tournament, but also became their first win in extra time this season, having gone 0-5-1 in their previous OT matches.
It also began the team's first winning streak of the season. As improbable as that sounds, it is in fact the first back-to-back result the Hoosiers have been able to string together.
After falling behind 1-0 early in the match, the Hoosiers regained focus and took control of the rest of the game. They failed to capitalize on several decent chances, senior A.J. Corrado was able to equalize with a strike outside the penalty box.
Going into overtime was not the ideal position for Indiana to be in, but they were able to hold strong and not allow Michigan a shot in the extra time, which allowed Dylan Mares to net his third goal on the season, and second game-winner.
Thursday's Big Ten awards banquet held more success for the Hoosiers, as Tommy Thompson picked up the Big Ten Freshman of the year award, along with being picked unanimously to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. His production includes being tied for the team lead and fifth in the league in goals scored with five, along with two assists. He was also picked second team All-Big Ten.
Thompson shares this prestige with head coach Todd Yeagley, who was Indiana's first Freshman of the Year back in 1991.
Three other Hoosiers accompany Thompson on the All-Big Ten second team, including A.J. Corrado, Nikita Kotlov, and Jacob Bushue. Corrado is tied for second in the Big Ten for assists with seven, Kotlov is tied with Thompson in goals scored for Indiana with five, and Bushue has been integral in providing leadership for the Hoosier defense.
Senior Matt McKain was also acknowledged for his season by being voted the Sportsmanship Award Honoree for Indiana.
The next step for this team will be to take down the No. 1 seed Penn State, who came to Bloomington earlier this season and kept the Hoosiers out of the net for a 2-0 win behind the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, Andrew Wolverton.
While Penn State has every right to be the favorite entering the match, Indiana, who is back to full strength now that Tommy Thompson has recovered from his knee injury, will be able to fight for the result it needs to make it to the final. In the match earlier this season, the Hoosiers out-shot the Nittany Lions 18-7, so this time around the score line could come out completely different.
While Penn State won't need the result to qualify for the NCAA tournament field, Indiana must win the Big Ten crown in order to earn the automatic bid, as they won't be selected on record alone. That, coupled with the fact that the last time the tournament was held in Columbus the Hoosiers won, could be the small push Indiana needs to make the final and extend their season.
Friday's match will begin at noon and be aired on the Big Ten Network.
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