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Hoosiers survive penalties, late red card to claim Big Ten Tournament title

Bezerra, Celentano help lift IU to its third straight conference double

NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Indiana made it a double this weekend. Again.

For the third consecutive season, IU men’s soccer won the Big Ten regular season and conference tournament championships, claiming the latter with a 3-2 win in penalties over Penn State on Saturday at Armstrong Stadium. The victory marks the 11th Big Ten double in program history, and the second time ever (1996-99) that the Hoosiers have achieved the feat in three consecutive seasons.

To do it, IU had to survive the final 10 minutes of regulation — plus overtime — with 10 men after Indiana’s Joey Maher drew a red card for dragging down Penn State’s Daniel Bloyou with the Hoosiers in front 1-0 late in the second half. Bloyou had a clear chance to tie the match when Maher brought him to the turf, and while IU avoided a Penn State equalizer in that moment, the Hoosiers could only hold off the Lions for so long. Seconds after Maher’s booking, Penn State’s Liam Butts was able to tap a loose ball past Indiana keeper Roman Celentano to level the score.

After surviving Penn State’s overtime advantage, Victor Bezerra, Thomas Warr and Joe Schmidt beat Lions keeper Kris Shakes in the shootout. Celentano, the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, posted four saves before making two stops during the penalty round.

Bezerra started the scoring in the 40th minute when, from the edge of the box, he beat Shakes to the near post off a feed from Ryan Wittenbrink. Bezerra, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, has now scored or assisted in eight consecutive games and 10 of 11 on the season.

IU now awaits its NCAA Tournament assignment during Monday afternoon’s selection show. The tournament will run from April 29 through May 17, with all games being played in Cary, N.C. and the surrounding areas.