WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Hoosiers had been in this situation before in the Big Ten Tournament.
For the third straight season, Indiana was headed to penalty kicks. In the previous two seasons, two different goalkeepers were between the sticks for the Hoosiers. Trey Muse didn’t get a chance in the penalty kick round last season. But this time around, it was Muse’s turn in goal for the Hoosiers.
Like he usually does, Muse stepped up to the challenge. The sophomore made two saves in penalty kicks. That was the difference and it’s the reason why IU will be playing in the Big Ten Tournament championship Sunday.
“He loves the moment,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “You have to love that for your goalkeeper. Can’t say enough about Trey. He’s been great for us since the moment he arrived.”
Muse was in this same situation nearly a year ago with the stakes arguably higher. Against Michigan State in the Elite Eight, he stepped up with massively important saves to push Indiana through to the College Cup. Friday was another situation where the same thing was needed.
The first penalty by Maryland’s Amar Sejdic snuck right under his outstretched arm. On the second, he was sent the wrong way. But on the third and fourth shots from the Terrapins, Muse made two saves. Those saves put Indiana in the drivers seat to advance.
“I was a little nervous at first, but a good nervous,” Muse said. “I knew I was able to make those saves, and with the scouting that we do on those penalties, I knew a few of those guys and their tendencies for their shots.”
Yeagley mentioned Muse has been fantastic for the Hoosiers since he arrived. Time and time again, the Louisville native has come up huge for the Hoosiers. Last season was a record-breaking one for him. It was going to be tough to top that in 2018, but the full body of work he’s turned in sure rivals it.
There are matches where Muse barely touches the ball because of the quality of the backline right in front of him. But the Big Ten goalkeeper of the year showed why he was given that honor this season once again with his performance against Maryland. When he is called into action, there are few better than Muse.
Coming into Friday’s match IU and Maryland were two of 20 teams in the nation who have yet to take a penalty. But because Muse and the Hoosiers have been in penalty kick situations before, they were confident.
“We didn’t have our way in a lot of these games,” Muse said. “It’s a big thing to go out there and get the win, regardless of the circumstances or conditions.”
While advancing to Sunday’s final may not affect much in terms of NCAA Tournament seeding, Yeagley said it was important for this group to play in another match with a trophy on the line. You can’t replicate those moments in training.
So when IU takes the pitch Sunday, it will be full of confidence. And if it takes penalty kicks, the Hoosiers know they have Muse to rely on if he’s called into duty again.
“I felt prepared,” Muse said. “The odds aren’t in my favor, but it’s always good to make the saves and I know I’m capable of doing it.”