Indiana blanks Old Dominion
Kotlov scores two goals to lift the Hoosiers to the next round
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana (13-3-5) beat Old Dominion(12-6-2) 3-0 in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday thanks to two goals from Nikita Kotlov and one from Tim Wylie. Kotlov has now scored eight goals in nine games, while Wylie's was the first of his career.
"Today we came up against a very good Old Dominion team," Head Coach Todd Yeagley said. "I felt our team handled a difficult opponent and was able to get some good goals."
Both teams looked to attack from the beginning on what was a slick surface. Kotlov played a major role as both a goal scorer and playmaker, flicking a header on to Alec Purdie in the opening minutes only to see the shot dragged wide from 20 yards.
Purdie found space again in the 14th minute, driving down the right sideline and crossing along the ground to Eriq Zavaleta, but the big striker was unable to connect cleanly. Kotlov tried to follow up but his shot was blocked, and Old Dominion's Victor Francoz, whose strong goalkeeping prevented the Hoosiers from blowing the game open, smothered Purdie's attempt on the rebound from 16 yards.
Kotlov would open the scoring two minutes later after good work from Chris Estridge. The left back cut across the field, flying past three Old Dominion defenders as he moved towards the right sideline and sending a dangerous cross into the area. The ball was deflected straight to a waiting Kotlov, who controlled it six yards from goal and sent it into the back of the net.
A resilient Indiana defense kept the Monarchs at bay despite the constant threat from Gideon Asante and Tim Hopkinson, who had helped lead the Monarchs to 48 goals on the season.
"I think our whole back four, as well as everyone in front of us, was a solid block today," defender Tommy Meyer said. "We had talked about needing to shut them down because they had some dangerous attacking players, and I think our whole unit did a great job."
Zavaleta nearly joined in on the scoring in the 26th minute, latching on to a through ball and finding himself one on one with Francoz, but the goalkeeper was able to beat away the shot from 12 yards, and Purdie's rebound was deflected over for a corner.
Goalkeeper Luis Soffner was called into action as the first half wore down, flying across the goal to keep out Skylar Hagan's strike after good work from Asante down the left sideline.
The Hoosiers took a 1-0 lead into the break in what was a free-flowing game, as a Monarch side playing with three forwards created various chances, but was also vulnerable to Indiana's quick counterattacks.
The opening minutes of the second half saw few chances, and when Asante went down with a leg injury with 34 minutes to go, Indiana began to pick up the tempo.
The Hoosiers would double their lead in the 71st minute off of a corner. Estridge played a role once again, bursting down the left sideline and sending in a cross that was deflected over the end line. Patrick Doody stepped up to take the kick, and his driven cross found Kotlov, whose perfect technique on a left footed half-volley beat Francoz from 16 yards.
"Making dynamic movements off the ball has been key lately," Kotlov said. "I've scored mostly off of crosses or first time shots, and my teammates have been putting it right on my foot."
Kotlov had multiple chances to record a hat trick, but his bullet header from 16 yards was tipped over by Francoz, while another strike from 15 yards was pushed away.
An increasingly physical game led to the first of two ejections in the 79th minute. Old Dominion's Alex De John, who had picked up an earlier yellow card, saw red for a hard challenge on Doody.
The Hoosiers capitalized immediately after on Wylie's shot from six yards. Francoz denied Kotlov once again on a header, but his punch fell straight to the feet of Wylie, who ripped the ball past the stranded goalkeeper from the right side to finish the scoring.
"It was a great feeling, and I'm glad to get it out of the way," Wylie said in reference to getting on the scoresheet for the first time in his college career. "More importantly, I was happy to help the team get the three-goal cushion and help us move on to the next round of the NCAA tournament."
Tempers flared once again in the 82nd minute, as Old Dominion's Tommy Webb also saw red for a bad tackle, having been shown a yellow card in the first half. A minor scuffle broke out, but order was soon restored as the home side pushed on for a fourth goal.
Purdie's strike from a tight angle was saved by Francoz soon after, and Joe Tolen's attempted bicycle kick flew wide as time wore down.