For the second consecutive game, it came down to one penalty kick. After having to defend one last week to preserve its lead, Indiana would need to score one to give itself the lead and avoid overtime in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
Sophomore midfielder Tanner Thompson ensured there would be no overtime, as he converted a penalty kick with less than five minutes remaining to give No. 6-seed IU a 2-1 victory over No. 2-seed Ohio State Friday at Ludwig Field in College Park, Md.
The Hoosiers advanced to Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament title game against top-seeded Maryland with the win.
”Today was a tough game,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley. “I thought Ohio State played very well. I tip my hat to their performance today.”
IU (12-3-5) struggled to get anything going on offense throughout most of the first half until the 26th minute, when senior defender Patrick Doody lined up to take a free kick from just outside the box.
He then struck the ball toward the near post, just beating Ohio State senior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov for his fourth goal of the season.
”It ended up being where I’ve mostly practiced it, which was nice,” Doody said. “And with the wind, it helped too with the way I kicked it. So it was the perfect spot and great execution.”
IU’s 1-0 lead held up until freshman forward Marcus McCrary’s goal in the 69th minute tied the match at one for Ohio State (9-7-4). The Hoosier offense was still struggling, though, as they were outshot by the Buckeyes 5-1 at that point in the second half.
”Today I didn’t think we played very well,” Yeagley said. “The positive is championship teams have to find ways to win that they’re off a bit.
”I thought our passing, just our overall spacing, the rhythm we weren’t able to get, and again part of that was Ohio State and their pressure and the way they played.”
In the 86th minute, Ohio State junior defender Kyle Culbertson was called for a handball in the box for which IU was awarded a penalty kick. His arm made contact with the ball after IU redshirt senior midfielder Jamie Vollmer’s throw-in bounced around the box.
Thompson confidently stepped up and struck the ball toward the left lower 90, finding the back of the net for the Hoosiers’ game-winning goal.
”Often the restarts are the difference this time of year,” Yeagley said. “Fantastic strike by Patrick Doody. Tanner’s composure and confidence to take the penalty, he just kept digging and stayed in the game to give us an opportunity.”
Thompson and Doody both managed to make their plays despite facing windy conditions and a very physical Ohio State defense.
”Extremely physical game, which is what we expected,” Doody said. “The ref let us play a bit too, so when you combine that with the wind it’s going to be a tough, gritty game, and not very pretty.”
With the win, the Hoosiers advanced to their 16th Big Ten Tournament title game. It’s also the second consecutive year they’ve reached the conference final.
”We’ll regroup and analyze what we need to do better, and get ready for the championship on Sunday,” Yeagley said. “We’re very excited to be in the position to win another title.”