Goals from Billy McConnell and Richard Ballard were enough for #3 Indiana to hold off a tough Wolverine team, as the Hoosiers picked up their first B1G win of the year in Ann Arbor. Colin Webb got his third shutout of the year in Grant Lillard’s return from suspension, and IU is unbeaten in their first six games of the season for the first time since 2011.
IU’s first goal came from some more dirty work by last week’s star Rashad Hyacenth. The striker held the ball under pressure (shocking, I know) on the attacking right flank and was able to make a turn away from the goal to play a great cross into the box. Ballard headed it toward the goal where the Michigan keeper saved, but was unable to secure the ball. The rebound fell to McConnell, who basically walked the ball in. Lars Eckenrode tried to prevent it, but succeeded only in preventing McConnell from playing the rest of the game; the Michigan defender went in with studs up trying to get the ball, got McConnell’s ankle instead, and was made to feel bad.
With about ten minutes left in the half, Webb earned his eventual shutout the hard way. Michigan won a free kick in the Hoosier half, and the ball in was headed on goal – and would have found the back of the net, except Webb made an acrobatic diving save to flip the ball up with his fingers and off the crossbar. Colin Webb faced four Michigan shots on goal, and saved all.
The win was sealed with about ten minutes left after some good pressure up front from the Hoosiers. Indiana pressed high up the pitch with regularity all game, wearing the Wolverines down with their apparently superior fitness. This time they won the ball in the Michigan half, and Andrew Gutman played a long diagonal ball that Richard Ballard dummied to let Jack Griffith’s superior run put him on the ball. Griffith wasn’t able to control it until he was at point-blank range, and Michigan keeper Evan Louro made a good kick save. The rebound fell right to Ballard’s feet, though, and he lashed it home to give IU a 2-0 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Next up for IU: Northwestern, who come to visit Bloomington on the back of a 2-1 loss last night at home in overtime to Wisconsin.