WESTFIELD, Ind – IU Coach Todd Yeagley said senior Corey Thomas has ice in his veins.
Thomas was the fifth Hoosier to attempt penalty kicks Friday afternoon and had the opportunity to send IU to the Big Ten Tournament championship match.
Thomas placed the ball in front of him and took eight steps backwards.
He then took his right foot and placed the ball perfectly toward the right bottom corner of the net.
The Maryland goalkeeper dived in the right position but was a second too late. The ball squeezed past him to give IU the 4-3 penalty kick advantage and the win in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
“Cory doesn’t think much about it,” Yeagley said. “The coach in you worries but you have to go back to the mentality of what you want your shooter to have because I’m not taking the penalty. There’s not fear. He thinks he’s going to score every time, that’s what you want. Today was his day.”
Heading into the second half, both teams were scoreless, but IU held a 9-3 shot advantage and was knocking on the door multiple times for a goal.
In the 61st minute, senior defender Andrew Gutman secured the ball on the “G” of the “B1G” logo. Gutman blew by at least eight defenders as he made a run toward the goal. As Gutman made his way into the box, a Maryland defender came sliding in for the tackle.
Gutman dodged the defender by switching possession from his left to right foot. He then fired toward the far post as the ball bypassed the outreaching fingertips of the Maryland goalkeeper.
The goal was his tenth of the season and gave IU the 1-0 lead with less than 30 minutes remaining.
“I just kind of got the ball, and I’m one of those guys that’ll never give up on the play,” Gutman said. “Even if I have a little bad touch, I’m going to make an effort for it. I kind of slipped by and was able to finish it.”
Not even 11 minutes later, Maryland found the equalizer.
Sophomore defender Ben Di Rosa came streaking down the right side of the field and fired a shot toward the far post as sophomore goalkeeper Trey Muse couldn’t make the save in time.
After the goal, neither team could find another score as 110 minutes went by and the game was still tied at 1-1.
In penalty kicks, Maryland took the early advantage.
After both teams scored in the first round, Maryland saved the shot from senior midfielder Rece Buckmaster to take the 2-1 lead. Then, Muse made back-to-back saves and both senior midfielders Austin Panchot and Jeremiah Gutjahr scored to give make it a 3-2 IU advantage.
Thanks to the final score from Thomas, the Hoosiers are now one win away against the winner of Michigan and Wisconsin from completing step two of their three step plan for the season: Big Ten regular season champions, Big Ten Tournament champions and NCAA Champions.
“Everyone steps up,” Gutman said. “I mean, Trey stepped up big time in the PK’s. All of the five guys taking the PK’s. It’s not one guy on this team, it’s 22 or 23 guys we have on the bench. Everyone contributes to this team and that’s why we’re successful.”
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