Men’s Soccer: Wolverines play No. 1 Indiana to a 1-1 draw

Michigan’s Mohammed Zakyi controlled the ball about 10 yards inside the Indiana half of the field and flicked the ball down the right wing. Teammate Umar Farouk Osman beat the Indiana player to the ball and while cutting toward the goal cut back on the defender and used his left foot to loft the ball in front of the Indiana goal.

Michigan’s Robbie Mertz positioned himself perfectly between two defenders, and when Indiana keeper Trey Muse came rushing out to try and punch the ball out of trouble, the senior forward had a wide open net to head the ball into to tie the game at 1-1.

To score a goal on the No. 1 team in the country required three players to win their individual battles to create a quality chance on net. It was that kind of effort on that kind of night to help the Wolverines play the host Hoosiers to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday in a Big Ten showdown.

Neither team could break the deadlock in two overtime periods.

No. 1 Indiana, picked to finish second in the Big Ten preseason poll, entered the mid-week matchup with a 4-0-1 mark after a scoreless draw against the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins in College Park on Sept. 8. The Wolverines entered the match following a 2-1 win over Wisconsin in their Big Ten opener.

Mertz’s lone U-M goal came in the 51st minute of action as the Wolverines earned their first point vs. a No. 1-ranked team in school history.

The Wolverines learned early on that you can’t give the best team in the country too many opportunities or eventually they will cash in on one. And the Hoosiers cashed in on one at the 12th minute when the visitors failed to clear the ball out of trouble despite two saves by keeper Andrew Verdi. Andrew Gutman scored to give IU a 1-0 lead.

After surrendering the first-half goal in the 12th minute, U-M did not allow a shot for over 35 minutes, spanning into the second half.

Verdi made a season-high six stops in goal for the Maize and Blue.

The Hoosiers out-shot the Wolverines 17-13 with a 7-6 advantage on shots on goal. But U-M had 10 corners to just two for the hosts.

The 18th ranked Wolverines (4-0-2) host rival and sixth-ranked Michigan State at noon on Sunday. Tickets are still available on the UM athletic web site.

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