BLOOMINGTON – The clock ticked down to all zeros and Indiana men's soccer coach Todd Yeagley pumped his fist to the crowd. Sophomore Griffin Dorsey threw his jacket in the air. The students stormed the field. IU was headed back to the College Cup.
In front of a crowd of 5,159 people at Bill Armstrong Stadium, senior Austin Panchot’s goal lifted the No. 2 seed Hoosiers over the No. 7 seed Notre Dame Irish 1-0, and into the final four.
“It’s so hard to do what this group does, so many things have to go right. I’m just so happy they get to experience another game,” Yeagley said.
This is the second straight College Cup appearance for IU, and an NCAA record 20th time overall.
“For a senior laden team, this is about as special as they come,” Yeagley said.
Notre Dame had possession for a majority of the first half and also had the best chance of the half, an Aiden McFadden header right in front of the Hoosier goal, which was saved by the diving fist of Trey Muse.
“Thank God,” Panchot said of Muse’s save. “It was a hell of a save.”
Andrew Gutman and Yeagley both said that IU wanted to make plays for the big crowd, and it led to IU’s first half struggles.
“They made us play a little anxious in the first 25, 30 [minutes],” Yeagley said of the crowd.
Though, with nearly 30 minutes remaining in the game, Yeagley made a substitution that turned the game for the Hoosiers. Senior captain Frankie Moore entered the game, and IU’s attack took off.
In the 64th minute, the Hoosiers broke through. Gutman dribbled the ball into the Notre Dame box, and sent a cross over to the far post. The ball came right to a wide open Panchot, who was left with a header into an empty net.
“I just got around that edge, and just whipped it across, kind of blindly,” Gutman said. “Luckily Panchot was right there just to tap it home.”
The raucous IU crowd erupted, and Panchot’s teammates rushed over to celebrate with him.
In the NCAA semifinals, IU will face a familiar opponent, the 11th seeded Maryland Terrapins. It will be the third matchup between the Hoosiers and Terrapins this season. The game is set for 10:45 p.m. Dec. 7 at the University of California-Santa Barbara.