“It’s a different league in its own,” senior goalkeeper Luis Soffner said. “Technically, if you think about it, we’re 1-0 going into that league. We can forget about that loss at home and start fresh in the conference.”
The Nittany Lions are a near statistical mirror image of the Hoosiers.
Heading into Wednesday night’s game against Notre Dame, the Hoosiers trailed behind the Nittany Lions in shots per game (15.44-13.75) and points (40-37).
However, the Hoosiers beat the Nittany Lions in goals per game (1.88-1.44) and goals allowed per game (0.5-0.56).
These statistics line up well for a preview of how the second conference game will be for the Hoosiers.
Junior midfielder Jacob Bushue said the team’s desire to win will be strong after losing to Notre Dame Wednesday night.
“Obviously, it’s a tough loss coming from a rival,” Bushue said. “But we can only feel sorry for ourselves tonight, and tomorrow we’re going to come back and put in the work to get a big win against a conference team.”
The Hoosiers will head into dangerous territory at Jeffrey Field, where the Nittany Lions possess a home record of 5-0-1.
A key matchup to look forward to will be the Indiana defense against the attacking game of Julian Cardona, who ranks second in the Big Ten in goals per game and points per game.
In contrast, another interesting matchup of this game will be the Penn State defense against sophomore forward Eriq Zavaleta. He leads the Big Ten in the two aforementioned stats.
These four factors match up evenly, as well. Cardona trails Zavaleta by two goals for the Big Ten scoring lead, while IU and Penn State are tied for first in the conference in goals allowed per game.
The Indiana defense, with the help of Soffner, ranks second in the Big Ten with five overall shutouts.
Penn State leads the conference in that statistic with six. Goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton tops the Big Ten with a 0.28 goals against average.
Both teams are coming off non-conference losses, and IU Coach Todd Yeagley said he believes the feeling of revenge will play into the hands of Indiana’s intensity.
“This is a quick turnaround, and I wouldn’t want an eight-day break after this game,” Yeagley said. “After a disappointing loss like that, a quick turnaround is good. If we take that performance we had in the second half of the Notre Dame game to Penn State, then I like where we sit there.”
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