Nov. 4, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio. – Freshman forward Darren Yeagle scored in the 56th minute to lift the No. 7 Indiana men’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Penn State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championship, hosted by Ohio State.
The victory sends the No. 1 seeded Hoosiers (13-4-2) into the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 5, at noon. The title game will be televised live on CSTV. Indiana will be looking for its 11th Big Ten championship. The Hoosiers will play the winner of the semifinal game between No. 2 seed Ohio State and No. 6 seed Michigan.
“First, I want to congratulate Penn State,” head coach Mike Freitag said. “They played hard tonight and they’ve had a tough year with injuries. They’re a team that won’t quit. I think this game really helped us for Sunday. I think it’s good to play a hard game. It prepares you for the next game. I’m a perfectionist, so I think there’s still stuff we can work on, but we’re definitely getting to the point that I think we should be at. Overall, it was a good win.”
After the ball went out of bounds on the left side, sophomore John Mellencamp threw the ball in front of the goal. Sophomore Brian Ackley got a head on it, and a Penn State defender deflected it out to Yeagle. Yeagle shot the ball from 18 yards out, and it fell in through the top right corner of the goal for his seventh goal of the season.
“I actually thought about passing it,” Yeagle said. “I looked up and saw the wide open post, so I put my head down and took the shot. We’ve been working on shooting in practice, so I was confident when I took the shot.”
The victory breaks a three-game losing streak to Penn State (7-12-2), dating back to last year. The last time the Hoosiers had defeated the Nittany Lions was Oct. 1, 2004, a 2-1 victory in Bloomington.
Penn State outshot Indiana 9-8 in the first half. Goalkeeper Chay Cain made three saves in the half. The Nittany Lions best chance to score came in the 27th minute, as Simon Omekanda headed the ball toward the goal, and Cain leaped up to knock the ball away.
Indiana also had its chances in the first half. In the 24th minute, Ackley fed the ball up through the middle to Yeagle. Yeagle’s shot was saved by Penn State’s Conrad Taylor. Mellencamp, Yeagle and Ackley also put together a strong run to the goal before the ball was kicked out by Penn State’s defense in the 26th minute.
After taking the lead, the Hoosiers made several attempts to score a second goal. In the 65th minute, Yeagle fed a ball to freshman Lee Hagedorn. Hagedorn, who was open in front of the goal, shot the ball just high. Taylor punched out a good cross from senior John Michael Hayden in the 79th minute before Ackley could get a head on the ball.
Penn State put together several chances in the final minutes. With six minutes remaining on the clock, the Nittany Lions drew a foul. The ball was placed 20 feet to the right of the goal. Jeff Chambers sent the ball into the box. David Gray got a head on it, and Cain was there to make the save. The Nittany Lions also earned a corner kick with five minutes left, and the Indiana defense kicked the ball away to preserve the win.
Cain ended the evening with five saves, while Taylor had one for Penn State. The Hoosiers and Nittany Lions each had 13 shots on the evening, while Indiana held a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Post Game Quotes
Barry Gorman, Penn State Head Coach
On the game
“If we don’t get one goal somewhere, teams will inch up on us. We knew the match-up coming in and our numbers were just depleted, especially in our forwards. Mike (Freitag) is coaching them (Indiana) his way. He is getting the players in the form he wants. There are good players on both teams.”
Conrad Taylor, Penn State junior goalkeeper
On the Indiana goal
“The throw-in was deep. I put the big guys on the posts and as the ball came in, we tried to head it up. There just weren’t enough guys on the ball. It went out and no one stepped in. As soon as the shot came, I didn’t see it.”
Michael Freitag, Indiana Head Coach
On the game
“First, I was to congratulate Penn State. They played hard tonight and they’ve had a tough year with injuries. The coaching staff and the players both get credit for this season. They’re a team that won’t quit. I think this game really helped us for Sunday. I think it’s good to play a hard game. It prepares you for the next game. I’m a perfectionist, so I think there’s still stuff we can work on, but we’re definitely getting to the point that I think we should be at. Overall, it was a good win.”
On Michigan and Ohio State
“I watched both of their games yesterday and I think both are in good form. I think the hottest team right now is Ohio State. They’ve got senior leadership and good restarts, but I also am very impressed with Michigan. They are a young team that comes ready to play.”
On the Big Ten Coach of the Year award
“Honestly, how do you pick a coach of the year? It’s my team that earned that award. Am I proud of the work I’ve done? Yes, of course I am. I know my staff and I have put in a lot of hours.”
Darren Yeagle, Indiana freshman forward
On the goal
“I got the ball at the top of the 18. I actually thought about passing it, but I looked up and saw the wide open post. So I put my head down and took the shot and scored. We’ve been working on shooting in practice this season. So I was confident when I took the shot. At the beginning of the season, I don’t know, I would have hesitated.”
On the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award
“It was a great honor for me. But I knew I had to come out and prove that I did that award.”