Sometimes when a coach makes a lineup change it comes back to bite them in the rear. That wasn’t the case on Wednesday night.
IU coach Todd Yeagley moved sophomore Justin Rennicks, his usual striker, to a midfield role and it paid off for the veteran coach as IU (8-1, 2-0 Big Ten) defeated Northwestern (4-3-2, 0-2-1 Big Ten) 2-1 at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
In the 19th minute Rennicks bolted through the Northwestern defense, finding himself some space to get off a shot and beating the keeper low from 12 yards away.
“I think Justin has been getting better every game and the goals have been coming in that same stretch,“ Yeagley said, “He’s playing so much better, his decisions, his confidence is brewing.”
Despite giving up an early lead, the Wildcats weren’t ready to call it quits quite yet. In the 55th minute it was Matt Moderwell who found the back of the net from close range to level the score at 1-1.
Just minutes later disaster nearly struck for IU. A hard tackle left star senior Andrew Gutman lying on the field, eventually forcing him to leave the game.
“We were definitely, I think all as a team, just kind of praying,” Griffin Dorsey said, “I’ve never really heard him go down like that, never seen that happen before so I was definitely praying for him. It was good to see him get up on his own and kinda walk off and seeing him on the sidelines jogging was a blessing for sure.”
Eventually Gutman was able to return to play, possibly putting himself back in according to Yeagley.
Late in the game it was once again a sophomore that made a big play for the Hoosiers. In the 87th minute sophomore Spencer Glass cut through Northwestern’s back line and sent a cross to his classmate Dorsey on the right side. Dorsey put that cross in the back of the net for the game-winning goal.
With the victory, IU extends their winning streak to 8 games. The win also extends the Hoosiers’ home undefeated streak to 18 games, their last loss was in 2016 to Virginia Tech in the NCAA Tournament. Todd Yeagley’s squad will return to the pitch on Sunday when they host Penn State at 1 pm.