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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Winning streak provides No. 1 position

The men's soccer team heads to Madison ,Wis., this weekend as the No. 1 seed in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament. Matches begin today and conclude with the championship game at 2 p.m. Sunday. \nIU hopes to get back on track after a disappointing showing in the tournament last year. A second-round 1-0 loss to Ohio State interrupted a 39 conference game unbeaten streak, and a run of eight conference tourney championships in the tournament's nine-year history.\nThis season, IU (12-3-1) is 6-0 in league play, marking the sixth straight season the Hoosiers have gone undefeated against conference foes. Not only have the Hoosiers won, but they have swept through the conference, outscoring opponents 17-1 overall.\nWith the top seed, the Hoosiers get a first-round bye and play the winners of Thursday's No. 4 Wisconsin versus No. 5 Michigan match-up in the semi-finals. The first day off is something Coach Jerry Yeagley said he views as an advantage. \n"Having the bye and not playing back-to-back games is what we play for all season long," Yeagley said. "It is a real plus in many ways. Having a tough game on the first game can definitely take something out of a team but there is also the advantage of knowing the field."\nSenior Goalkeeper Colin Rogers agrees with Yeagley.\n"It's nice being the number one seed and having the first game off," Rogers said. "But we learned last year that having that day off doesn't always mean a win, so we have to be ready to play."\nThe Hoosiers have shown a balanced attack featuring a stifling defense in the Big Ten this year. Offensively, IU is third in the league in goals and second in assists, while the defense leads the league in goals allowed, averaging just .38 goals given up a game. \nJunior All-American Pat Noonan is second in the Big Ten in goals, assists, and total points, and Rogers is the leading goalkeeper.\nRogers and the rest of the defense allowed six goals in the regular season this year. The last time an IU team allowed only six goals prior to post-season play was 1998, when the Hoosiers went on to win the National Championship.\nDespite IU being the favored team, Noonan said the tournament is up for grabs. \n"I think once playoff time starts, there aren't any favorites," Noonan said. "Penn State and Ohio State have been two of the better teams. But no matter who we play they're going to come out fighting. Anything can happen once this tournament starts."\nAfter falling to Ohio State last year, IU went on to their fourth consecutive Final Four in the NCAA Tournament, missing the championship game by an overtime goal. Even with the success, Yeagley said he sees the Big Ten Tournament as more than just a tune-up for the NCAAs.\n"The Big Ten Tournament is a prelude for the NCAA Tournament, but it is a very important goal for us to win it," Yeagley said. "That is all we are thinking about right now; there is nothing beyond that in our minds. There is pressure, but we like that"

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