SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Expectations were high Tuesday night for a top-10, in-state matchup between two premier soccer programs.
The crowd was pretty evenly split at Alumni Stadium, and the anticipation was palpable. That was until Notre Dame’s four-goal scoring spree silenced the IU faithful.
IU enjoyed some time on the ball in the early going, but that didn’t last long. Notre Dame junior forward Jon Gallagher was living in IU’s defending third. The Hoosiers had no answers for him or the rest of the team, and the Fighting Irish ran away with a 4-0 win.
Notre Dame’s Oliver Harris found the back of the net in the 13th minute. One goal didn’t seem like a big deficit. It usually isn’t. When you are facing a team like Notre Dame, which has only given up four goals all season, it is going to be an uphill battle.
“The goal kind of stung the group because they felt good starting the game,” Yeagley said. “That second really hurt, and our guys are confident they can score goals, but this is a mature Notre Dame team. Their highs and lows are very moderated, and they kept to their playing.”
Gallagher scored Notre Dame’s second goal in the 23rd minute and followed that up with another strike a minute later. Gallagher took advantage of a sloppy Hoosier defense to put his side up 3-0. To make matters worse, Brand Aubrey made it 4-0 in the 71st minute.
“It just wasn’t a good night for us, didn’t go our way,” senior defender Derek Creviston said. “They put goals in the back of the net, and we didn’t, and we didn’t keep them out either. We have a lot of work to do, and hopefully we can put some goals away.”
This was by far the worst defeat for IU in the 38-match history between the in-state rivals. The Hoosiers have had some 4-0 wins, but this was the first for the Irish.
This Hoosier team is still in the thick of things when it comes to the postseason. They are no longer undefeated, but most of their conference schedule remains.
“I know what this group can do,” Yeagley said. “I’m not worried, but I’m disappointed we had a performance like that in a big game. The guys are disappointed.”
Notre Dame came to play, and IU did not. Most teams encounter obstacles that turn into learning experiences throughout the season, and this will be IU’s. Some marquee matches, including Louisville next week and a few road trips in the future, still await IU, and the Hoosiers will have to use those to fix their mistakes.
IU now turns its focus to Penn State, which comes into Bloomington on Saturday night. Bad losses can happen to any team, and that team was IU on Tuesday.
“This is a crazy sport sometimes, and that’s just the way it happens,” Yeagley said.
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