Claiming their fourth Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament Championship, the University of Indianapolis men’s soccer team cemented their spot in the NCAA tournament after a penalty kick shootout victory over the University of Illinois Springfield on Nov. 12, according to UIndy Athletics. In a tournament run that resulted in two overtimes and two shootouts, Head Coach Gabe Hall said the team has shown how they work for each other.
“It was exciting to watch…,” Hall said. “They are hard working and resilient… This team really seems to enjoy each other and like each other. And I think when you’ve got that kind of camaraderie within a group, you’re willing to do just a little bit more for each other. That’s what carried us through this last little stretch here is that togetherness… the guys work for each other and push for each other.”
Throughout the tournament, the Greyhounds advanced in two shootouts resulting in primetime saves from graduate student and goalkeeper Kieran Brown in both games. According to junior defender Bobby Turner, taking a penalty is an opportunity to be brave.
“Everyone in the team realizes that if you score, if you miss it doesn’t matter,” Turner said. “It’s just being brave to take the penalty. Obviously, the hero for the weekend was Kieran saving four maybe five total [penalties.]”
In the first match of the tournament for UIndy, the team were down 1-0 at halftime before having a last-second winner to defeat Truman State University 2-1, according to UIndy Athletics. Senior forward Michael Tselios scored in the last five seconds of the game to give the Greyhounds the win.
“Every team is going to be a tough game, every team is going to be challenged,” Hall said. “But if you want to be considered one of the best teams in the country, this is where you’ve got to thrive. And to the boys credit they have found ways to get it done over these last three games. At halftime, we’re down one nothing [in the Truman game]. And the message then was just be calm, keep doing what we’re doing, don’t panic.”
With the GLVC Championship win, the Greyhounds cemented their automatic bid in the NCAA tournament where they have been on a consistent basis, according to Hall. Therefore, the expectation to go to the tournament has been built into the program.
“We’ve got guys from then [previous years] and we’ve got new guys that have come into this program because they want to play in an NCAA tournament,” Hall said. “They want to be part of something that’s special and so it’s good to have that. It’s good to have that pressure of we should be in the NCAA tournament. And these guys this year, haven’t left any doubt.”
Hall said the team has been able to stay fit and healthy thanks to the trainers and strength coaches despite the extra time they have been playing in games from going into overtime. Turner said he has enjoyed what the season has been, and he is ready for more to come.
“This is my first season at UIndy, so I had in mind one of the goals and yet that’s what we play for to win trophies,” Turner said.
The Greyhounds will start their NCAA tournament run as the three-seed against sixth-seeded Lake Erie College on Nov. 19, 2023, as of The Reflector press time.