WESTFIELD, Ind. – The No. 18 Wisconsin men's soccer team defeated No. 3 Indiana to advance to the Big Ten Championship on Sunday. The Hoosiers and the Badgers battled it out in Westfield, Indiana, at Grand Park, where they ended regulation and double overtime in a 1-1 draw before the Badgers won 4-3 in penalty kicks.
"Another great game against Indiana. We played them a couple weeks ago at home and we knew it was going to be a tough, tough game," Wisconsin head coach John Trask said.
The wind was a huge factor in the first half of play for the Badgers. Indiana played with a strong gust at its back and collected a 9-2 shot lead over Wisconsin. The Hoosiers also led the Badgers in corners 5-0.
The clean slate in the second half lasted 10 minutes before junior Tom Barlow sent a beautiful ball into the box for fellow junior Christopher Mueller, who finished it to the back of the net. The goal was Mueller's eighth of the season and Barlow's fourth assist of the year.
"Compliment to the guys — for Mark to find Chris and for him to get it outside to Tommy and eventually put it in for the goal was great," Trask emphasized.
The Badgers' lead stood for more than 20 minutes before the Indiana attack reciprocated a goal from a backdoor try.
"There's a reason Indiana is such a good program and they found a way to get back in this game," Trask continued.
The game remained level for the rest of regulation and went to overtime.
Both overtime periods were played defensively as neither team was willing to make a crucial mistake and the game rolled over into penalties.
"With the penalty kicks, I felt pretty confident in the type of leadership and goalkeeper that we have," Trask said. "For Philipp to make two saves on the penalty kicks and also score is outstanding."
Penalty kicks followed the scoreless overtime periods. Both teams missed their first shots before finding the next three when forward Barlow, goalkeeper Philipp Schilling and defender Matej Radonic each notched a goal for the Badgers.
Penalties were knotted at three apiece before Indiana missed off the post and Mueller was the man to step up. The junior rifled a score, sending the Badgers to the Big Ten Championship.
Indiana dominated the shot chart 29-6 and shots on goal 8-4. Wisconsin ended the day without a corner, while the Hoosiers earned eight.
Schilling got the start in net for the Badgers and collected a season-high seven saves. Schilling handled two shots on frame with ease in the first half and six through the rest of playing time.
The Badgers now focus their energy on the Big Ten Championship game against top-ranked Maryland on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. The Badgers faced Maryland once before in the regular season. The Badgers led the Terrapins until the final minutes of play when they scored and eventually went on to win in overtime.
"It's the Big Ten final, guys are going to find it within themselves to bring their best," Trask stated. "It will be a great soccer game and a great presentation of what we're all about in the Big Ten."