It was tense. It was stressful. It was very nearly the end of Indiana’s season.
And yet, with IU feeling the pressure of a dogged Pittsburgh attack, it was Herbert Endeley who helped flip the field and provide comfort when the Hoosiers needed it most. Endeley’s brilliant finish with 11 minutes remaining in regulation propelled third-seeded Indiana to a 1-0 victory over second-seeded Pitt, keeping IU’s Quest For 9 alive on Friday in Cary. N.C.
Indiana will face Marshall on Monday at 8 p.m. ET in the national championship match — the program’s 16th title game appearance and third under head coach Todd Yeagley.
“The adaptability of this team is fantastic,” Yeagley said. “Their resilience is phenomenal.”
On a night when the Hoosiers withstood a regular, consistent Panthers offensive effort, Endeley broke through with an exciting individual sequence through the box in the 79th minute. The sophomore forward split two defenders and stuck the ball through a tight window along the near post to net the decisive strike and provide the Hoosiers with some long-awaited breathing room down the stretch.
“We’ve been working on a lot of finishing in practice,” Endeley said. “I knew that it could possibly just take one shot for us to win the game.”
For Endeley, it was the second chapter of his late-match heroics against the Panthers. In the first-ever meeting between the programs at the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in 2019, Endeley netted the winner in the 103rd minute of the first overtime. This time, after Endeley struck late in regulation, it was just a matter of holding on.
Luckily for the Hoosiers, they have a keeper capable of doing just that.
With IU on its heels for a chunk of the contest, Roman Celentano once again inspired confidence from the back. He got a little help from his crossbar, but also stepped forward to stop a few scoring opportunities from fully developing for the Panthers, who took seven corners to IU’s three and unleashed 14 total shots. For Celentano, it was his 10th shutout of the season.
“Roman’s been amazing all season,” Endeley said. “I don’t think there’s anybody better than him in college at his position. He’s one of the most important players on the field, and every single player on the team knows we can count on him to help us if we need him. He’s been amazing for us.”
And for Indiana, an opportunity to win title No. 9 awaits on Monday night.
“This (team) has been an absolute joy to coach in a tough year,” Yeagley said. “To be here with one game remaining is really special.”