Coming into the highly anticipated match between No. 10 Wake Forest and Indiana on Sunday, the Hoosiers were on a three-game losing streak versus the Demon Deacons. The last time the two programs met in 2018, Wake Forest pulled out a win in overtime. In the second round of the 2023 NCAA tournament, the Hoosiers returned the favor by winning a 3-2 overtime thriller in Winston-Salem. Here are three takeaways from today’s match.
No quit from the Cream and Crimson
In all four of Indiana’s losses this season, the Hoosiers conceded the first goal of the match and they couldn’t find their way back. Tonight was a different story as Indiana clawed back multiple times to win.
Just 21 minutes into the match, Wake Forest opened the scoring on a cross that deflected off the leg of Indiana defender Jansen Miller and went over the reach of goalkeeper JT Harms. It was the only goal of the first half.
With its back against the wall and its season on the line, Indiana had 45 minutes to find an equalizer. It didn’t take long as just 10 minutes into the second half, Indiana midfielder Hugo Bacharach scored the equalizer.
After the Demon Deacons went up 2-1 from a penalty kick in the 67th minute, Indiana forward Karsen Henderlong slotted home a goal just six minutes later.
In overtime, the Hoosiers found their breakthrough four minutes into the first overtime period. Bacharach played the role of hero with a nasty heel flick for his second goal of the match.
Indiana’s resilience and toughness in October and November have been incredible. The Hoosiers' ability to find an answer multiple times in the match shows the program's consistency.
“I felt really, really confident tonight… I feel like there’s a lot of ownership right now (from players)," said coach Todd Yeagley.
Hugo Bacharach has been a difference-maker in the midfield
After Indiana’s Big Ten Championship win over Penn State a couple of weeks ago, Bacharach said, “I came here to win.”
The former defender, now midfielder, has made a huge impact since shifting into the midfield with sophomore Patrick McDonald.
The Hoosiers are now 10-1 with Bacharach starting in the midfield. His ability to win balls out of the air and create on the dribble has allowed Indiana to get opportunities it didn't have before.
His first match in the midfield took place versus Penn State in early October, when he assisted forward Sam Sarver twice in a 2-1 win over the Nittany Lions. Since that game, Indiana has been one of the hottest teams in the nation.
Against the Demon Deacons, Bacharach doubled his goal total on the season with two set-piece goals against Wake Forest, which helped the Hoosiers advance to the Sweet 16. He now sits with four goals and four assists on the season.
Scoring against Wake Forest wasn’t something new for Bacharach. He scored against them during his junior year at Fairleigh Dickinson.
Bacharach has been a crucial piece in Yeagley’s scheme and he has come through when Indiana has needed him the most.
This team found the right time to get hot
Throughout October and November, the Hoosiers have found their footing. Before the Kentucky match, Indiana had six goals through nine matches. Since that stretch, the Hoosiers have tallied 26 goals.
The offense has clicked at the right time and has helped build the confidence of many players. Forwards Maouloune Goumballe, Tommy Mihalic and Sarver are a few players in the Hoosiers' attack who have excelled in the final stretch of the season.
Something Yeagley stressed early in the year was how it was just a matter of time until the team found goals. Yeagley was certainly right in saying that the Indiana offense would find a way.
The Hoosiers have won 11 of their last 12 matches and the team has found ways to win both offensively and defensively. Momentum, along with loads of experience in tournament games, has helped Indiana down the stretch.
“When the biggest games are in front of you, your experienced guys got to step up and they are,” said Yeagley.
Indiana will take on No. 7 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., in the Sweet 16 at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 26.