With a bid to the Horizon League Men’s Soccer Championship on the line, the IUPUI Jaguars men’s soccer team faced off against the Northern Kentucky Norse Sunday afternoon for the rights of passage to postseason play for the first time in five seasons. The Jaguars emerged victorious, 2-1, to secure the postseason berth.
The day had added implications for the six senior members of the squad. Nick Anderson, Sam Gavin, Jared O’Dell, Trevor Semakula, Sean Siasia and Rodrigo Zampieri were playing their last home game at Carroll stadium.
“Those guys for sure are a special group,” IUPUI head coach Brian Barnett said. “They’ve had a challenging time at IUPUI in terms of getting results on the soccer field. They’ve always been fantastic students, and they’ve always been fantastic people, but the opportunity to win games and accomplish things on the soccer field has not come for them. I’m super happy for them to end their college soccer careers on a high note.”
The wind was gusting all afternoon at Carroll Stadium. The first half finished scoreless with the Norse and Jaguars rarely contesting the formidable wind.
In the second half, conditions only worsened. Just as the wind picked up and kept the ball suspended in air, so did the referees whistle blows for fouls. Northern Kentucky and IUPUI combined for 11 fouls total, five and six respectively in the first half. In the second-half, both teams had eight fouls apiece, including 3 yellow card cautions, and an additional two fouls in overtime.
Nine minutes into the second half, Cameron Peterson drew a penalty kick from the Norsemen’s Abdul Kooistra on a foul within the 18-yard box. Junior IUPUI midfielder Alan Agular converted the kick to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, Northern Kentucky’s Conner Probert knocked in a wind-aided corner kick to tie the game.
Regulation concluded, sending IUPUI to its eighth overtime on the season.
With 43.2 seconds left in the first overtime, Peterson took his third corner shot of the period. The kick connected with Corey Goode, who netted the attempt and secured the victory.
“Obviously I’m super excited for our guys,” Barnett said. “To have the resolve to compete inside the conditions of the game today with the massive amounts of wind and all of those pieces that they had to go against. I’m really proud for them to come out in the end and get the result.”
The senior class won a total of seven games in its time at IUPUI, four of which came this year. Those four wins, however, are among the best in the Horizon League.
“We’ve made a lot of progress from when we first came to the school,” senior Sam Gavin said. “Every year we’ve gotten better and better, and we’ve understood what Coach Brian Barnett has brought to us, and taken ownership of our roles.”
The remaining conference games on Nov. 2 will determine the final standings. The Jaguars currently sit at fourth. IUPUI will play its first postseason match in five seasons on Nov. 5, location and opponent TBD.