Soccer season is right around the corner. Last week IU announced its schedule for the 2019 campaign and boy is it a doozy:
Overall IU will play seven 2018 NCAA Tournament teams including four members of last year’s elite eight and two College Cup participants. There will be plenty of familiar rivals that the Hoosiers will face in the newest edition of their quest for a ninth national championship, but they’ll also see a few new foes as well. Here are the most intriguing matchups on the IU men’s soccer schedule for 2019.
October 9 vs Kentucky
It’s Indiana and Kentucky. We don’t get the bourbon barrel game anymore and John Calipari is too scared to bring his teams to Assembly Hall nowadays, so either this version or the baseball one is the peak of what is one of the more heated rivalries in college athletics, bar a special NCAA Tournament matchup like in 2016.
Last season both teams entered the matchup in Lexington among the elite in the country. UK star J.J. Williams gave the Cats an early lead and as IU pushed for a late equalizer they took advantage, using a pair of counterattack goals to make the score look worse than it really was as they beat the Hoosiers 3-0. Now Williams, who scored twice and tacked on an assist, is gone and IU will try to get payback at home.
September 17 vs Notre Dame
Possibly IU’s biggest rival on the pitch, Notre Dame is always a premier matchup and when the two squads go head-to-head it’s typically a match that gets national attention. 2018 saw this matchup twice—once during the regular season in South Bend and then a rematch with a trip to the College Cup on the line in Bloomington.
The first game ended on a golden goal from sophomore Justin Rennicks. He might’ve been offside, he might not have. It wasn’t called so who knows.
The second game wasn’t exactly a walk in the park either, but a 64th-minute goal from senior Austin Panchot was enough to give the Hoosiers an edge and send them to Santa Barbara.
This year the rivalry returns to Bloomington and it’ll come right before the start of Big Ten play.
October 18 @ Maryland
2018 saw its fill of Indiana vs Maryland on the pitch. A 2-1 regular season win helped boost the Hoosiers to a conference title and a penalty kick victory helped lift IU to the conference double, but the Terrapins got the last laugh as they ended Indiana’s season in the College Cup. They took a 1-0 lead into the half and put the final nail in the coffin with a late goal from Donovan Pines to prevent IU from advancing to the national championship game.
These two teams should be pretty familiar with each other after that many matchups and there’s sure to be hard feelings among the Hoosiers that will be returning.
September 6 vs Denver
We nearly saw this matchup in the NCAA Tournament last season but the Pioneers lost to Air Force in its second-round matchup. Last season Denver was seen as one of the better teams in the nation despite its struggles against the few elite teams it played. The Pioneers went undefeated in Summit League play and finished the season ninth in the United Soccer Coaches ranking as well as 19th in RPI. This will be a new foe for the Hoosiers and they’ll play in South Bend as part of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament. It’ll be a good early season test for both sides.
November 3 @ Michigan State
The Spartans have been one of the best sides in the Big Ten over the past few years, regularly clashing with the Hoosiers with conference title implications on the line. There’s a pretty good chance that we could see another matchup like that this fall. The Hoosiers will travel to East Lansing for their final regular season game. If things break the right way this could potentially be a pseudo-conference championship game.
In 2018 the Hoosiers knocked off the Spartans in Bloomington on a golden goal from Rennicks, capping off the regular season with a nail-biter of a win and ending conference play undefeated.
Despite the schedule release, we’re still a couple of months away from the start of the season. The Hoosiers will play a pair of exhibitions in mid-August before officially opening their season on August 24 against DePaul at Bill Armstrong Stadium.