At a certain point, things had to even themselves out.
IU’s luck had seemingly run out after a stretch of matches where it just couldn’t find a moment for a breakthrough. Leave it to the match against No. 7 Butler to change the entire script.
On Wednesday, the resiliency of this team showed through. After falling behind 2-0 early on, IU fought back when it would have been easy to close up shop.
“I really like this team,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “I think they have a lot of strong character. I think they have good balance. They are positive, tough and it doesn’t surprise me that they were capable of doing that. It was a good night for our team, and I think it will pay dividends down the road for us.”
Throughout the match, IU played the style it wanted to. Butler could only create on counterattacks, which eventually came back to bite the Hoosiers, but they kept on pushing forward.
That set up this season’s potential turning point with three unanswered goals for the win.
In the short term, this win gives the Hoosiers confidence going into Notre Dame next week. In the long term, it gives them confidence they are capable to win matches against high-quality opponents like Butler.
“It says a lot about our relentlessness,” sophomore Austin Panchot said. “It really raised the team spirits a lot and will help us down the road.”
The Hoosiers came into Wednesday’s match against in-state rival Butler with the most shots per game in the country, but only two goals in their last three matches.
When senior Tanner Thompson missed his penalty shot before IU’s equalizer, the Hoosiers were ready for all possibilities. Something had to give at some point, and the old saying, “You practice how you play,” paid off Wednesday with a goal Trevor Swartz said was from practice.
“We position two guys on the side of the box for that reason,” Swartz said. “Phil was there on the other side and I was there to get that shot. We train it every week and I was there in the right spot and happened to put it away.”
It’s well-documented the offense hasn’t been there of late. IU had to look to other options deep on its bench and found it in Panchot. He hasn’t seen the field much this season, but found his moment in extra time to give IU its deserved victory.
“It’s something we train a lot,” sophomore Austin Panchot said. “Coaches are always telling any attacking player to make runs into the box and be in those positions so when the balls finally do fall to us, we are there to make the play. It’s a little bit instinct, too.”
If there was any sort of pick-me-up to get IU back and rolling again on offense, this was the game to do it. The script in this rivalry with Butler and this up and down season was waiting to be written. It eventually was sealed and delivered to keep IU undefeated.
“We created some great chances tonight,” Yeagley said. “I can sit back and see the bigger picture and say I’ve seen this happen as a coach or as a player, and you can’t keep creating these chances and not find the back of the net.”
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