Nov. 29, 2008

Courtesy of Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - After a pair of tight 1-0 battles with Michigan this season, Indiana exploded for three goals in a 3-0 win over No. 14 Michigan to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Indiana (14-6-3), the No. 6 seed, will travel to New York to take on the No. 3 seed St. John's Red Storm on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Red Storm advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-2 win over UC Irvine Saturday night.

"First off, I would like to congratulate Michigan on an outstanding season," said head coach Mike Freitag. "They are an excellent team with outstanding players and it shows just how strong the Big Ten was this season.

"That said, I cannot say how proud I am of my team. To record a 3-0 win over a quality team shows we are playing good soccer right now."

Michigan (13-6-3) came out strong in the first 30 minutes of the match but it was Andy Adlard who gave Indiana all the offense it would need with his team-best seventh goal of the season at 33:52. The play began with a shot from Brad Ring that was blocked and sent back into play. Neil Wilmarth touched the ball to Lee Hagedorn, who found Adlard just inside the top of the 18. Adlard blasted his shot to the upper left for a 1-0 lead.

Three minutes later Brian Ackley had an open attempt off a free kick but sent his shot high. Indiana finished the half with an 11-5 advantage in shots and took three corner kicks to the Wolverines' one.

The Hoosiers continued to attack in the opening minutes of the second half, as Kevin Noschang broke free at 46:50 but sent his shot wide. Indiana controlled a majority of the possession but still faced a relentless attack from Michigan as it clung to a one-goal lead.
Perica Marosevic unfurled one of his team-best four shots in the 73rd minute, forcing IU goalkeeper Chay Cain to make his lone save of the match. Just over a minute later Marosevic sent a shot off the cross bar that bounced up and back into play.

It was earlier this season that the Hoosiers had trouble defending opponents' restarts, something the team has shown much improvement in over the last several matches.

"We played a hard schedule for a reason," Freitag said. "Sometimes this season we have faltered and made mistakes. Those (restarts) were something we were not good at defending earlier in the season. But we have made a conscious effort this last part of the season to do better and it shows."

After withstanding the pressure the Hoosiers gave themselves breathing room at 76:50 with a goal from Ring that made it 2-0. Starting with a feed in the back from Cain, Hagedorn came up the sideline and eventually found Adlard open. Adlard sent the ball into the box and Ring broke free from a scrum for a blast from five yards out.

It was Ring's first goal of the season and Adlard's team-best fifth assist.

"Once we got into a flow we were being patient and making them chase," Adlard said. "That is how we got our goals."

It did not take long for the Hoosiers to put the game out of reach as a counter attack netted John Mellencamp his fourth goal of the season and a 3-0 lead at 81:33. Countering off a Michigan corner kick, Ackley served the ball up to a streaking Mellencamp, who finished the thru ball with a high shot to the right side.

"I commend the team, not just for scoring three goals but for how we defended as a team," Freitag said. "(Defense) is what wins championships."

Indiana finished with an 18-9 advantage in shots, led by six from Ring. The Hoosiers also got outstanding play from their bench with 19 different players seeing action. Cain and his defensive line of Rich Balchan, Tommy Meyer, Ofori Sarkodie and Kevin Alston recorded their 10th shutout of the season.

"As a team we have only given up one shot on goal in two (tournament) games," Cain said. "It is great to not have to do much. I would like to take credit for those shutouts, but it has been a total team effort."

Indiana is now 7-1-2 against teams ranked in the top 25 this season and has shut out eight of those 10 opponents.