There were multiple lightning strikes at Bill Armstrong Stadium on Friday night. Five to be exact.
After waiting nearly an hour through a lightning delay, IU came back out and asserted its dominance in a 5-0 win against Rutgers. It was the first Big Ten win of the season for the Hoosiers in front of their home crowd.
It was the first IU win over Rutgers in over two years, after the Hoosiers had lost and drawn in previous fixtures between the sides. There was no sign of a losing streak for the Hoosiers, though, as they controlled possession and dominated all game.
Junior attacker Cory Thomas opened the scoring for the Hoosiers in the 32nd minute after freshman midfielder Spencer Glass delivered a low cross into the penalty box which was tapped in from three yards out by Thomas. It was Thomas’ second goal of the year after starting for the second time this season Friday.
The Hoosiers kept their foot on the gas and didn’t let up after their first goal. As the first half came to a close, junior defender Timmy Mehl stepped up for a free kick from the top of the penalty box and delivered a strike into the bottom-left corner of the net to extend the IU lead to 2-0. It was Mehl’s second goal of the season from a set piece.
After having multiple scoring chances to begin the second half, IU managed to increase its lead again. Junior attacker Austin Panchot was substituted into the game for freshman attacker Griffin Dorsey and made his mark after coming on. Panchot made a run down the left side of the 16-yard box and delivered a cross in front of goal, which was finished by Thomas, who scored his second goal of the game in the process.
It was the second match in a row where Thomas started at the left wing position and he took advantage of the opportunities that fell at his feet. Thomas is now tied for the most goals on the team this season with three.
The Hoosiers added their fourth and fifth goals of the night in the 59th and 85th minutes courtesy of Panchot and freshman attacker Thomas Warr. Panchot finished a ball delivered by senior attacker Rashad Hyacenth that was deflected into the box, while Warr slotted the ball home after it bounced around in the Scarlet Knights’ defense.
One of the many standout performers for the Hoosiers was Glass, who came on early in the game. He made an instant impact for IU and managed to get an assist in a limited amount of time. Yeagley said he was impressed with Glass’ performance, and he said it’s what he expects out of him when he enters the game.
“It was a good night to get Spencer into the fold. His service is really special, and he gives us another weapon,” Yeagley said. “I think getting him some more minutes tonight was good for his confidence after playing a little inconsistent earlier in the season.”
IU has scored more goals so far this season through eight games than the Hoosiers did in all of the 2016 season.
It was also the sixth clean sheet of the season for an IU defense that has been solid through the first eight games. Freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse saved all three shots he saw from the Rutgers attack.
“It starts in the front,” senior defender Grant Lillard said. “We have good team defending and everyone has good team principles. We have a lot of experienced guys, we work well together, we complement each other’s strengths, and we’ve had some effective results so far.”
At the end of the day, the Hoosiers moved up two spots in the Big Ten standings and are now tied for second with Maryland with eight points.
IU will next play current No. 1 Notre Dame on Tuesday night, although the Fighting Irish will be coming off of a tough loss at Virginia Tech. The Fighting Irish defeated IU 4-0 in last season’s matchup.
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