BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – You can't erase losses during a Big Ten soccer season, but you sure can make up for them. Indiana did exactly that Tuesday night in a 3-0 blowout victory over Northwestern at Bill Armstrong Stadium
Indiana, which moved up to No. 7 in this week's United Soccer Coaches national rankings, completely dominated play early, getting two goals in the first 20 minutes and having several other chances as well. They dominated throughout and were never threatened in getting their fourth consecutive win.
The Hoosiers are now 6-1 on the season, leading the conference with 18 points with two tough regular season games remaining with Michigan and Maryland. Their 17th Big Ten regular season title is clearly in sight now after three important points against Northwestern
"We needed to put this game away early. We talked about that a lot after what happened up there,'' said Maouloune Goumballe, who had a goal and an assist.
It was probably Indiana's most dominant performance of the season. They outshot Northwestern 19-1, and had an 8-0 corner kicks advantage in avenging its only loss of the season. Indiana coach Todd Yeagley said it was the three points that were available Tuesday night that was the driving force behind the win, not the opportunity lost back on Feb. 27, when they lost 1-0 at Northwestern
"I told the guys afterward that I thought we were in good control from whistle to whistle,'' Yeagley said. "It was a lot of fun. You could tell the guys were really motivated tonight to get those three points and stay at the top of the table.''
In the 10th minute, Nate Ward, a freshman from Connellsville, Pa., scored on a header off a terrific pass from Goumballe. Ward beat Northwestern keeper Miha Miskovic in the upper left corner for his first goal of the season.
And then in the 19th minute, A.J. Palazzolo took a pass from the left side from Spencer Glass and got a solid shot on goal that was saved by Miskovic, but he couldn't control the ball and Goumballe, a sophomore from Cincinnati, scored on the rebound for his third goal of the year.
"Maoloune has had a really good run the last couple of weeks,'' said Yeagley, who got his 150th career win on Tuesday. "He's strong and physical and his ability to run off the ball is good. He can hold the ball well under pressure, too, and we're still just seeing the top of iceberg from him. He's a good kid that's really focused on his craft, and I'm really happy for him.''
Indiana outshot Northwestern 10-1 in the first half and had seven corner kicks. They came out firing in the second half as well, getting two early chances. Herbert Endeley made it 3-0 in the 51st minute, dribbling between two defenders and then firing a shot past Miskovic with a blast off his left foot.
"That was a clinical finish by Herb,'' Yeagley said. "We've been working really hard with him on that, coming in and finishing with his left.''
Indiana goalkeeper Roman Celentano, who was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the second week in row on Tuesday, didn't even face a shot on goal against Northwestern. He's only allowed two goals all season.
Northwestern has been the only Big Ten team able to hang with the Hoosiers all season, handing them a 1-0 defeat back in late February in Indiana's first outdoors road game. The Wildcats got a goal from Ugo Achara Jr. in the 87th minute to beat the Hoosiers.
The Hoosiers, who are now 16-1-3 all-time at home against Northwestern, play at Michigan on Saturday night. The Wolverines are 4-1-1 on the season.
"Now it's really clear what's in front of us,'' Yeagley said of closing out the Big Ten season with another championship. "The season was already a short track. It's clear now, we win out and we're a champion again. That to me was the driving force tonight. We talked very little about that game (at Evanston), and more about the three points we needed to get tonight.''
Indiana 2021 Men's Soccer Schedule
- Feb. 19 (Fri.) – Indiana 3, Wisconsin 0
- Feb. 23 (Tues.) – Indiana 3, Ohio State 0
- Feb. 27 (Sat.) – Northwestern 1, Indiana 0
- March 7 (Sun.) – Penn State at Indiana, ppd.
- March 11 (Thurs.) – Indiana 4, Wisconsin 0
- March 15 (Mon.) – Indiana 2, Michigan State 1
- March 19 (Fri.) – Indiana 3, Rutgers 0,
- March 23 (Tues.) – Indiana 3, Northwestern 0
- NEXT: March 27 (Sat.) – Indiana at Michigan, 7 p.m. ET
- April 4 (Sun.) – Maryland at Indiana, 1 p.m. ET
- April 10 (Sat.) – Big Ten tournament quarterfinals
- April 14 (Wed.) – Big Ten tournament quarterfinals
- April 17 (Sat.) – Big Ten tournament quarterfinals