On Friday evening the IU men’s soccer team opened Big Ten play by hosting the Wisconsin Badgers. The Hoosiers managed to stay undefeated whilst bucking some of their biggest trends of the season.
IU scored first, which they hadn’t done once this season. In the 10th minute, freshman Victor Bezerra took a penalty kick for the Hoosiers and cashed in on the opportunity to score his second goal of the season. After that it seemed like IU would be in control the rest of the way, possibly finding a second goal as the match went on.
In the 77th minute things went sideways. Matthew Comiskey found the back of the net for Wisconsin to pull the Badgers level and it looked like the Hoosiers might be headed to overtime once again.
That, however, didn’t last long. Just two minutes later Aidan Morris took a corner kick. As it flew through the box A.J. Palazzolo got a piece of it and then suddenly Daniel Munie redirected it into the back of the net to put IU ahead. It was the first career goal for the redshirt freshman and definitely one to remember.
Just before the end of regulation, the Hoosiers put an exclamation point on the win. With just 14 seconds remaining Maouloune Goumballe led a counterattack, gliding down the field, beating his man and sending a shot skating past a diving keeper to make the final score 3-1.
1. Win in Regulation?
This was the first time that the Hoosiers have ended a match in regulation this season. It was their sixth match. Surely it was great for them to not have to play an extra 10 or 20 minutes of soccer and it was certainly less stressful for the coaches and fans. Moving forward they should do this more.
2. Youth Movement
In this game there were three goalscorers. All three were freshmen. Bezerra and Goumballe are true freshmen while Munie redshirted last season. On top of that, true freshman Aidan Morris was credited with an assist on Munie’s goal. True freshman Herbert Endeley made his very first collegiate start in this game after being a crucial sub through the first five contests for IU. Redshirt freshman Ryan Wittenbrink returned from an injury to make his collegiate debut, getting a shot on goal and almost getting an assist. Another name that didn’t end up on the scoresheet, but did make an impact was Joshua Penn, who’s also a true freshman. He had a shot on goal in this one.
If you need a TLDR for this section it’s this: IU has a really, really, really good group of freshmen this year. It’s still early in the season but this group of true freshmen could potentially rival the recruiting class of 2017 that included current pros Mason Toye, Trey Muse, Justin Rennicks and Trey Muse among others. If they stick around for awhile the program is only headed upward.
3. Offensive Options
In the past there have been Hoosier squads that were more reliant on one or two guys to be the focal point of the attack, 2016 Tanner Thompson comes to mind as a possible example. This team isn’t like that. Now through six games the Hoosiers have had seven different players score at least one goal. There are six more players who have yet to score a goal, but they do have at least one assist to their name. I could list each and every one of the players who pose a threat to opposing defenses, but it would be a long list. It might just be the greatest strength of this team, as practically anybody can score at any time from the back to the front. If they don’t score they could just as easily set up a teammate to score. Perhaps the defense isn’t as stout as it was last year or the year before, but this Hoosier attack might be better than either of those attacks from the last two years.
Up next for the Hoosiers is a trip to Indianapolis where they’ll take on the Butler Bulldogs at the Sellick Bowl on Tuesday. Butler will be broadcasting the game on Facebook Live.