For No. 2 IU, cold weather has not and will not be an issue heading into Friday's Big Ten Tournament Semifinal matchup with six-seed Ohio State this Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana.
In fact, the Hoosiers thrive in the cold weather.
“I said before that we like the cold because it signifies the postseason,” junior midfielder Francesco Moore said. “It helps me and all of us, so we can run around. It’s like ‘run all day weather’ like coach Robison likes to say because if you get tired when it’s cold out, then you’re just out of shape. We’re excited for it, and we’re happy to be here.”
It is expected to be an estimated 35 degrees Friday afternoon in Westfield, but the Hoosiers are going to treat it like any other game that they have played this season.
For Ohio State, a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament, this game means more for their postseason hopes than the Hoosiers. IU Coach Todd Yeagley said even though Friday’s matchup is more significant for the Buckeyes, he said his players are going to be just as hungry for a win as their opponent, and he said the extra motivation will provide an intense game.
“I’m not concerned about our approach, but I do think that they can make it tight,” Yeagley said. “Usually you can work that, and I like our balance of our team to handle it. I like our position, so to say they have a psychological advantage in this case, I would say we’re pretty darn hungry for this as much as they are.”
In IU's quarterfinal match on Monday against Penn State, IU had 34 shots and just one of them hit the back of the net. The Nittany Lions’ freshman goalkeeper, Josh Levine, had a career-high 13 saves against the Hoosiers, and even though the latter struggled to find the winning goal, it won’t be an overshadowing issue going forward.
“We’re just going to keep playing the game that we’ve been playing,” junior attacker Cory Thomas said. “The finishing needs to be better, maybe taking smarter shots, we’ll talk about that. But I think the way we’re playing is good right now.”
The Hoosiers and Buckeyes’ previous matchup saw IU come out on top in Bloomington, 2-0, Oct. 15, behind two goals from freshman attacker Mason Toye. Moore said the team can learn from the previous matchup, and improve on their mistakes in order to ensure another victory.
“We can learn their tendencies, what their players like to do, how their players like to play, how they attacked us, and what they did when we attacked them,” Moore said. “It’s good that we played them earlier in the season, so we know what to expect and what we can do moving forward.”
Yeagley said the team will focus on Ohio State’s midfield, which has been prolific and gave IU some troubles in their previous matchup. Yeagley also said he wants to focus on junior midfielder Abdi Mohamed, and hopes to shut him down on Friday.
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