This column isn’t about Indiana Basketball. Sorry, but I needed to get you here. I’m speaking directly to the folks that come here to consume the content centered around IU’s revenue sports, there’s something we need to talk about.
You might not be a soccer fan, you might be a soccer fan that doesn’t follow the Hoosiers. Either way, I implore you to give this team a chance, just check out a game. They deserve the full support of the IU fan base.
Coach Todd Yeagley has one of the deepest, most talented rosters in the country with stars at each level of the lineup.
Just look at the man between the posts for the Hoosiers. Sophomore Trey Muse is the class of the Big Ten in net and for good reason. Muse is one of the most successful goalkeepers in IU history, racking up 26 shutouts and allowing just 17 goals in 43 games, while also showing the athleticism to make diving saves and the mental and communication skills necessary to organize one of the top defenses in the nation.
In that defense the Hoosiers have one of the best players in the country—Andrew Gutman. The senior is the star attraction for IU. His mix of pace, skill, and a nose for the ball make him one of the most dangerous attackers in the nation when he heads up the field from his spot at left back. He can seemingly come out of nowhere and give IU a lead in a flash which keeps things exciting.
Indiana’s midfield features a duo that can hang with anybody in college soccer. Justin Rennicks and Griffin Dorsey have US Youth National Team experience and play styles that are fun to watch. The duo has been away from Bloomington recently, as they’ve been playing in the red, white, and blue for the U-20 team. In three games for the US Rennicks has three goals and four assists, meanwhile Dorsey has scored once and tallied two assists. Dorsey generates plenty of scoring opportunities for the Hoosiers on the wing. The sophomore mixes dribbling skill and speed with an aggressive mindset in a way that allows him to take over matches at times, which is pretty fun to watch. Rennicks has a pretty similar skill set. Typically playing in the middle of the pitch, Rennicks has speed and skill, but he also has shown the ability to poach goals.
With a cache of future pros and some tough competition, the Hoosiers have played in some exciting competitions this season. They’ve played a tough schedule with teams like Wake Forest and Notre Dame in their non-conference slate and the Big Ten is a strong soccer conference with the likes of Michigan and Michigan State at the top with IU.
They’ve played in four overtime games this season with a couple more going down to the wire in regulation. These games have produced big moments like Andrew Gutman’s late game-winner against Maryland and a slew of golden goals.
Indiana is also just a fun team to watch play. It feels as if they’re almost always just one pass away from scoring, even when they’re playing in defense. Players like Trevor Swartz are always looking to possibly play a long ball up the pitch and with the speed and passing ability that much of the team has that strategy is certainly something the Hoosiers can turn to. You can see Swartz looking down the field here on this assist to Spencer Glass against Butler:
Aside from that Indiana also effectively generates chances by putting crosses into the box from the wing. Spencer Glass in particular is a guy that has been praised on several occasions by coaches, teammates, and the media alike as having the best left foot in the country, his ability is huge for the Hoosiers in attack and pretty cool to see in action. A good example is this cross he made to Rece Buckmaster from way outside the box for a goal against Penn State:
On top of that the Hoosiers are also lights out on set pieces. Corners and free kicks are dangerous and a number of different players are effective in service on those. One game that we saw this in was the Maryland game. Austin Panchot sent a ball into the box and Gutman nodded it into the net to give the Hoosiers a lead:
This team has already accomplished quite a bit this season. They won the program’s first Big Ten regular season championship since 2010 while continuing a 37 game undefeated streak in conference matches and cleaned up when the Big Ten announced their regular season awards. Gutman was named defensive player of the year, Muse won goalkeeper of the year, Todd Yeagley won coach of the year, and Jack Maher was named freshman of the year. The first three of those four awards were unanimous selections. The Hoosiers also had nine all-Big Ten selections.
They’ve accomplished all of this and they still have so much left to do. They’re currently in the midst of the Big Ten Tournament, trying to win the program’s first tourney championship since 2013. Up next they’ll take on Maryland on Friday at Grand Park in Westfield. That game won’t be on BTN+ like many of their games have been this season, it’ll be on BTN, like the BTN that typically belongs to football and basketball that a lot more people have access to.
This is a team that has a legitimate chance at a national title, the program’s ninth. During their NCAA Tournament run, they’ll probably host all the way up to the College Cup as they did in 2017. The atmosphere at Bill Armstrong Stadium will more than likely be electric, as it was in the national quarterfinal against Michigan State. You could almost cut the tension in that space with a knife as the Hoosiers and Spartans went to overtime, then double overtime, then penalty kicks with IU finally claiming their College Cup spot.
So watch this team. Get out to a match. Grand Park is nice and Bill Armstrong Stadium is a great home environment. This might be the best team in Bloomington this year, with future professional players that play an exciting brand of their game. You might not be a soccer fan, but why not give it a chance when the school you root for has one of the best squads in the country?