It caught IU Coach Todd Yeagley off guard when he realized his team had not trailed yet this season.
“That’s interesting," Yeagley said. "I did not know that."
It’s not as if the Hoosiers haven’t been in tough matches this season. They’ve played top teams like Maryland, Notre Dame and Michigan. But having not trailed through 14 matches says a lot about the 2017 Hoosiers. They have only allowed two goals all season. Because of that, it almost makes sense they have yet to trail.
IU never trailed, posted its eighth straight shutout and won its 12th match of the season Sunday against the Ohio State Buckeyes, 2-0, at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
“It says a lot about our focus and our discipline,” IU junior midfielder Francesco Moore said. “Right from the start of the games we want to get right on the other team, pack them in, play our game and really establish themselves. That says a lot about not being down a goal.”
The Hoosiers followed Moore’s plan almost perfectly. They came out with energy, an attacking mindset and continued their mentality that they weren’t going to give up a goal. IU may not have had the shots to show for it early, but it controlled possession and dictated the game. The Buckeyes were forced to pack it in and defend.
The first breakthrough of the match came in the 21st minute when IU freshman forward Mason Toye scored his seventh goal of the season. It was the so-called freshman connection as Toye was played in on a incisive pass from freshman winger Griffin Dorsey to open up the scoring. It was Dorsey’s fifth assist on the season.
“It was an awesome pass from Griff,” Toye said. “He made it really easy, froze the center back with the pass and all I had to do was take a pretty good first touch, I did, and I know I’m going to score those. It all started with Griff.”
It stayed 1-0 for just about 35 minutes before Toye got in on the action once again and bagged his team-leading eighth goal on the season. IU junior defender Andrew Gutman played the ball in from the left flank. All Toye had to do was post up his defender, which he did, and tap the ball past the keeper into the wide-open net.
The Hoosiers were put under a decent amount of pressure from the Buckeyes. Ohio State rattled the cross bar and forced freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse to make one save on the day. Still, the Hoosiers outshot the Buckeyes, 20-4.
The defense, once again, wasn’t letting anything by them.The defense keeps them in games and that’s where Yeagley pointed to when talking about not trailing.
“We’re obviously not giving up any goals,” Yeagley said. “We try to create a little bit of adversity from time to time just in our own sessions and when we review, we can almost be as critical as ever when things are going well.”
With just three games left in the regular season, the Hoosiers are looking to become the first team in program history since 1997 to post an undefeated mark in the regular season. The final three games will all be games where IU is tested. If they happen to fall behind, Yeagley isn’t worried at what his team’s response would be.
“If that was to be the case I think we’d be fine with getting back in the game,” Yeagley said. “I wouldn’t be worried that we haven’t felt that because the guys in this program have been behind in the past, some of our leaders.”
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