No. 1 IU set a new program record with its seventh-consecutive shutout Wednesday night in a 2-0 win against No. 21 Kentucky at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington.
IU's current shutout streak extended to 689 minutes on defense, while on offense, goals from junior defender Timmy Mehl and senior attacker Rashad Hyacenth carried the Hoosiers to victory.
The Hoosiers came blazing out of the gates to start the game and pressed high for most of the first half.
Kentucky entered the game playing with three defenders on the backline, but it didn’t take long for the wing backs to drop back, morphing into a formation with five defenders.
The first goal of the game came in the 13th minute.
Junior midfielder Trevor Swartz sent a free kick from the right side of the field into the penalty box, which curved over the entire Wildcat defense and found the outstretched leg of Mehl.
It was Mehl’s third goal of the season for the Hoosiers, with the previous two also coming from set piece free kicks.
The Wildcats then started to take shots at IU’s sturdy defense. Kentucky junior Mikkel Pedersen gave freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse all he could handle late in the first half. This forced a diving save from Muse to preserve IU’s shutout.
The second half was just as competitive as the end of the first, and the Wildcats had a few chances to equalize. But each time, the Wildcats were diffused by the Hoosier defense, which did a good job of recovering when an opportunity opened up for the opposition.
“We were giving them 25-yard shots, trusting Trey behind us to make some saves,” Mehl said. “We tried to close them down as quick as we could, and if shots from outside the box was all they were going to threaten us with, then we’re going to give them that for the majority of the time.”
IU extended its lead in the 73rd minute after freshman midfielder Spencer Glass chipped a corner kick into the box, which was tapped into the back of the net by Hyacenth.
Both IU’s goals came off of set pieces, a personal favorite for IU Coach Todd Yeagley, who said he likes his team to score off of them because sometimes they can make or break results, and tonight, it did.
“I love restarts,” Yeagley said, laughing. “If you’re not super sharp and the goalie is having a good game, it’s going to be the difference. Our guys love it, whether or not they just like me getting jacked up about it. I don’t know.”
The Hoosier defense successfully saw out the rest of match, despite Kentucky striking the post with a shot with just under 10 minutes to play.
Sophomore defender Jordan Kleyn also made an appearance for the Hoosiers in the match. It was Kleyn's first involvement in a game since injuring his groin Sept. 13 against Michigan.
“Trevor Swartz was really good tonight, and I feel like he faded as the game went on,” Yeagley said. “He was doing a lot of movement from box-to-box, and that’s where they were starting to find some space. Rece Buckmaster is one of our fastest guys that we have, and I feel like we needed him in the midfield. Jordan Kleyn was available for us, so we decided to put him in and get his feet wet.”
Kleyn’s energy was felt by his teammates when he entered the game, and Muse said it was nice to have the starting right back return from injury.
“We were both excited and happy for him,” Muse said. “You could tell he was glad to get back out there, so we’re going to be in his ear a lot.”
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