With solid results against three ranked teams including a win against No. 7 Notre Dame on Tuesday night, and with its undefeated record on the line, No. 1 IU will play a different kind of opponent this weekend.
The Hoosiers, 7-0-2, haven’t played a winless team since beating then-winless San Francisco 5-1 on Sept. 1. But this weekend, IU will face a similar situation.
IU welcomes 0-8 Santa Clara to Bloomington at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night
IU Coach Todd Yeagley said he wants his team to play a cleaner game than it did against Notre Dame.
“I think we can do better with our decision making this weekend.,” Yeagley said. “Our passing has been cleaner overall, but we can complicate some things when we need to play simpler. We read each other well, so we just need to reduce the moments of complexity.”
The Broncos enter the match with an 0-8 record thus far, with some losses coming at the hands of No. 3 Maryland and No. 17 Washington. Santa Clara has given up 24 goals while only scoring 11, bringing its goal differential to -13 on the season.
That’s a huge difference compared to IU, which has given up just two goals all season while putting 20 into the back of the net. Freshman attacker Mason Toye, who has started the most games for the Hoosiers at striker, said the team doesn’t want to overlook the opponent at hand.
“We have to stay consistent and motivated,” Toye said. “We can’t overlook this team, and we’re going to try and go after them early to put them away for the rest of the game.”
Junior defender Rece Buckmaster has started at right back for IU during the past three games after junior defender Jordan Kleyn went down with a groin injury against Michigan. Buckmaster had previously started for the Hoosiers in the midfield, but with Kleyn still recovering, he had to slot into a defensive role and will continue to do that against Santa Clara.
“I’m a team player, so wherever coach wants to put me, I’ll play,” Buckmaster said. “Whether it’s right back, center back, or in the midfield, I’m down to play anywhere.”
Yeagley said he doesn’t know when Kleyn will return from injury, but he said it will be sooner rather than later.
“He’s doing really well with a great training staff,” Yeagley said. “He’s doing everything he has been asked to do, so we’re just waiting to see what happens. This injury is harder to put a timetable on.”
With conference play in full swing, the Hoosiers will play six straight games on four days or less of rest until their last game of the season against Michigan State. Yeagley stressed the importance of going light on his starters during training, making sure they are rested for a long stretch of games with little time to recover.
“We’re working our guys on different levels and scaling back the intensity of training for our heavy-minute guys,” Yeagley said. “We want to remind ourselves that a well-rested player is going to be the most effective player. We’re doing more with video, film and tactical stuff more than an intense workout.”
More in Men's soccer
IU will look to keep a defensive shutout for the 10th-straight match.
Jordan Kleyn picked up a confidence boost by playing big minutes for IU against Butler Wednesday night.
IU couldn't get it done on the road against Butler.