By CALEB SONNELAND
Fourth-seeded Indiana booked its place in the semifinals of the Big Ten conference tournament after topping No. 5 Michigan State with a 2-1 win with goals on either side of halftime on Wednesday.
Sophomore Nikita Kotlov opened up scoring with his seventh goal of the season in the 38th minute, and senior Alec Purdie doubled the advantage just a minute after the restart with his eighth of the year.
The win means that the Hoosiers, ranked No. 8 in the latest Fox Soccer Top 25, now must face top-seeded Northwestern in the first of Friday's semifinal games.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten tournament and other conference tournaments around the country:
The first upset in the Big Ten tournament was recorded as No. 7 Penn State surprised No. 2 Ohio State with a 2-0 result.
Penn State, previously winless in conference play, picked a great time to show up, as the Nittany Lions took their only first-half lead since Oct. 4 through defender Matt Smallwood in the ninth minute. Julian Cardona doubled the lead from the penalty spot just after halftime when Mackenzie Arment was felled in the OSU area.
Penn State will meet No. 3 Wisconsin in the semifinals, after the Badgers knocked out host and defending national semifinalist Michigan to advance with a 2-0 victory.
Sophomore Nick Janus broke the scoreless deadlock in the 83rd minute, and senior Josh Thiermann wrapped things up for Wisconsin with an insurance tally.
FAMILIAR FOES TO MEET IN BIG WEST FINAL
The usual suspects will take the field in the Big West tournament final as UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine clash in the conference championship for the third time in four years.
Ranked No. 14 (UCI) and No. 15 (UCSB) in Fox Soccer's most recent Top 25, the two teams will meet Saturday to determine the champion at UC Irvine, who won the regular-season meeting.
It took Irvine freshman Cameron Iwasa just 35 seconds to get off the mark in the Anteaters' 2-0 over fourth-seeded UC Riverside. Tarek Morad added to the tally for his first career goal in the 31st minute.
No. 2 UCSB knocked No. 3 UC Davis out of the tournament with a 2-1 win to advance into its fourth straight Big West tournament final.
The Gauchos got off the mark in the 17th minute thanks to junior Sam Garza, who converted from penalty spot. Striker David Opoku recorded the team's second on the other side of halftime for his eighth of the season.
UC Davis got one back late on in the 80th minute when Dan Reese nodded in a goal off the far post following a free kick.
HAT TRICKS PACE UCF, SMU
A pair of high-scoring 4-3 Conference USA games saw No. 3 UCF and No. 5 SMU reach the conference semifinals at the expense of No. 6 Memphis and No. 4 Marshall, respectively.
UCF's McKauly Tulloch notched a hat trick, with this final goal coming in overtime to seal the victory for the Knights over Memphis, which had equalized in the 89th minute.
SMU senior striker Arthur Ivo also recorded a hat trick to help the Mustangs fend off Marshall.
SMU will now have to face top-seeded South Carolina on Friday before UCF takes on No. 2 Alabama-Birmingham, with the winners advancing to the final.
LATE DRAMA SEES BRADLEY INTO MVC SEMIS
It took an 88th minute winner from senior Christian Meza to lift No. 3 Bradley over No. 6 SIU Edwardsville, 1-0, and into a Missouri Valley Conference semifinal clash with second-seeded (and current NCAA RPI No. 1) Creighton.
Both keepers came up with crucial saves in the tightly-contested clash as Bradley's Brian Billings recorded six saves and Scott Meyer of SIUE made three himself.
On the other side of the bracket, Drake will face No. 1 seed Missouri State after strolling 3-0 past Central Arkansas with goals coming in the 38th, 61st and 66th minutes.
What did you think of the results? Who do you see winning the respective conference tournaments?
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