What came as a surprise to some didn't come as one to coach Todd Yeagley on Sunday morning, as his Indiana Hoosiers made the most of their time in Columbus and won the Big Ten tournament, beating Michigan State 1-0.
All season long, the man at the helm has held an unwavering confidence in his team, and that came to fruition on Sunday. He even told his team after they had lost on Senior Night that they were going to go out and win the tournament. It just so happens, that loss was to the same foe they beat out for the title.
This title win is the program's 12th and its first since 2006, when the tournament was also held in Columbus, Ohio. It will also provide the team with an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament and a chance to defend its national title, which it would not have received while sporting a losing record.
On a dreary morning where the game had been pushed forward three hours in anticipation of inclement weather, the Hoosiers took the pitch against a Spartan side that beat them the same way Indiana had been beaten all season: in overtime, and on a cheap goal.
The story on Sunday was much different. Indiana sported an attack that was constantly threatening and the defense held strong at the back, rejuvenated by the fresh face in front of goal, Colin Webb. Webb, a true freshman, was playing in just his fifth collegiate start on Sunday, but played with the poise of a veteran.
"He has been really good," Yeagley said. "And maybe as a coach, I went a little long with [Michael] Soderlund, and the change could have happened sooner, but it has really paid off for our team. Colin was fantastic, with all of the saves he made and his composure at the back."
Webb was up to the task all game, recording six saves and coming off of his line many a time in order to keep the Spartans from finding a way onto the score sheet.
Another unlikely hero was substitute Jamie Vollmer, who picked Sunday as the day to net his first goal of the season. In the 66th minute, the redshirt junior stole a goal kick from the Spartan defense and took the ball into the box, slipping his shot underneath keeper Zach Bennett.
"I would say now is better than never," Vollmer said about his goal. "I'm just happy for us to get one, for us to win, and to move on into the tournament."
Better now than never is an understatement. During the regular season, the Hoosiers couldn't produce a result out of anything. No matter how well they played, they were always undone by their own mentality. Then the replacement of Soderlund with Webb and the play of Tommy Thompson following his knee injury sparked a fire under the team, which has been burning hard for the past four wins, nearly doubling their win total on the year in just over a week.
"It's a great feeling, we came into the tournament knowing what we had to do, and we took care of business," co-captain Harrison Petts said. "We had our ups and downs this season, but we seem to be finding the right pieces and fixing the little mistakes that cost us some results, and that proved to help up win a championship."
Each of the past three matches had come as a part of "win or go home" scenario that the team has approached very well, provided how the season has gone thus far. But now that the Hoosiers have pickup up some momentum, the belief they had in themselves may be starting to spread into the thoughts of fans and opponents alike.
"The train is moving fast, the guys like the train right now," Yeagley commented on the streak his team has built. "We are going to keep rolling with this thing. If you ever count the Hoosiers out, I wouldn't think that's a smart bet."
The selection for the field of the NCAA tournament will happen on Monday at noon.
Follow Will on Twitter: Twitter.com/Will_Padgman