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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Noonan has high hopes

Junior forward pays little attention to personal accolades

Wednesday night, Pat Noonan was not in the best of moods. \nThe junior is a candidate for the prestigious National Player of the Year award, a result of his work at the forward position for the men's soccer team. \nHe has been praised by coaches and peers alike as an athlete of special talent and ability, a type of player that doesn't come along very often. \nBut these honors were not at the forefront of his mind. What he was thinking about was the fact that his scrimmage team had just lost in the Hoosiers "tune-up" practice in preparation for this weekend's IU Credit Union Classic. \n"The second team won, and the first team players (the starters), whoever it may be at the time, are ticked off when they're walking off the field," Noonan said. "You want to win at all times."\nOn a team that is incredibly focused and competitive, Noonan doesn't have much time to think about himself. \nAlthough he is one of the most highly regarded players in the country, he disregards personal praise and shifts any conversation about his personal achievements back to the team concept. \nHe hates to lose. He knows that in order to win, he needs his team. He said he wants the national championship a great deal more than the Hermann trophy, which is awarded to the national player of the year at the end of the season.\n"(Being a candidate for national player of the year) is a great honor, but at the same time, I just have to go out and do the same thing I've been doing every other day," Noonan said. "I think that with the players I have behind me this year, we've got a good cast out there and if I'm double-teamed at any time, whatever happens, I know these guys can step up and finish it off."\nHead coach Jerry Yeagley said he agrees with that philosophy. He is anticipating those double teams to come at Noonan often. He said he realizes that for Noonan to be successful and do well, the other Hoosiers on the field will also need to contribute.\n"He can't carry the load himself," Yeagley said. "To make him effective, we have to have other players step up…to keep the defenses honest so Patty can do what he needs to do for us. It's just as much his teammates as it is him as to how effective he's going to be."\nYeagley said that this year, things will be tougher for Noonan than they have been in the past. \nLast year, talented and experienced midfielders Matt Funderberger and Ryan Mack were able to provide him with some protection from stifling defenses. Funderberger has since graduated and Mack, a senior this year, went down with a torn ACL over the summer that will most likely force him to red-shirt this season. Noonan is now surrounded by freshmen with talent, but who are nonetheless newcomers.\nNoonan said he has tried to make the incoming freshman as comfortable as possible in a system that is new to them. He said he has been impressed by their confidence up to this point.\n"I think so far they have shown that they're not afraid to take defenders on…and that's what we need, we can't have them coming out here timid," Noonan said.\nMidfielder Danny O'Rourke is a freshman who will most likely see a lot of playing time alongside Noonan. He said Noonan has helped to instill that all important confidence.\n"I knew about him before I came (to IU's program)." O'Rourke said. "I always knew he was a great player. I saw him on my recruiting visit and I was extremely impressed. \n"He's a great guy. He doesn't treat us like freshmen, he treats us like we're part of the team. Just being able to play with him is great out there."\nThis weekend marks the beginning of what the Hoosiers hope will be a long and successful season for the Hoosiers. Senior goalie Colin Rogers said as a fellow leader, he is looking to Noonan to help the Hoosiers achieve the goal they set for themselves every year: bringing another national championship to Bloomington.\n"We both have the same goal, as the whole team has the goal, to win the national championship," Rogers said. "We know that Pat's going to be our main offensive tack up there, so we're looking for him to lead us offensively and hopefully win the national championship again"

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