Indiana is now one step away from completing their quest for nine.
Thanks to a pair of first half goals from Ryan Wittenbrink and Tommy Mihalic, the Hoosiers (14-4-6, 3-1-4 B1G), comfortably defeated the Pitt Panthers (12-5-5, 3-2-3 ACC) 2-0 at WakeMed Park in Cary, NC. Goalkeeper JT Harms delivered another clean sheet for IU. Indiana has not conceded a goal through four matches in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Indiana has now beaten Pitt in all three matches in the head-to-head series, dating back to 2019. IU’s previous win over the Panthers also came in a national semifinal, back in the 2020-21 season.
IU now has an NCAA-record 100 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament victories. Also, IU will play in their 17th NCAA Tournament final, tops in the nation.
In front of a crowd mostly supporting the Cream and Crimson, the No. 13 seed Hoosiers snagged the opener from Wittenbrink, who converted a rebound after having his penalty kick saved by Pitt keeper Joe Van Der Sar. The goal was Wittenbrink’s team-high 10th of the season.
Hoosier Nation erupted in celebration from Cary to Bloomington to Las Vegas, where the men’s basketball team is slated to play Arizona tomorrow.
Just before halftime, IU would add to their advantage. With 20 seconds left until the break, Mihalic found a slight opening on Van Der Sar’s near post, finding a crease just wide enough to slither the ball into the net. That was the eighth goal of the season for Mihalic.
The second half was the JT Harms show. IU’s junior goalkeeper, who transferred in from Duke, made multiple quality saves to keep the Hoosiers two goals ahead. One particular denial stood out in the 75th minute of the match.
Indiana saw the match out fairly comfortably after that point. Coach Todd Yeagley played 13 Hoosiers in the outfield in the win, with Joey Maher, Daniel Munie, Nyk Sessock, Brett Bebej, and Patrick McDonald all playing the full 90.
IU’s next game will be their College Cup final showdown vs. No. 3 seed Syracuse. The Hoosiers are the No. 13 seed in the tournament. The title game will take place at the same venue, WakeMed Park in Cary, N.C. Indiana is looking for their 9th title as a program, and first since 2012.
Featured Image: Indiana Men’s Soccer