Heading into his weekend matchups against No. 24 UCLA and San Diego, both in Los Angeles, sophomore midfielder Rich Balchan said he feels good about his team’s chances.
“We are moving forward and are confident going into this weekend,” Balchan said. “I’m honestly not too worried about (UCLA). If we just play our game, we will be fine.”
The No. 19 Hoosiers, 1-1-2, are hoping to rebound from a 4-0 loss this past weekend against Dartmouth in South Bend. The outcome was the largest margin of defeat in the program’s history.
Senior goalkeeper Chay Cain said the loss was “embarrassing” and is certain his team will respond strong.
“The intensity is going to be there, and we will be aware of some of our weaknesses,” Cain said. “Going to (UCLA’s) place is going to be tough. We know that we need to go in there and play our best. Otherwise, we are going to be in trouble.”
The ongoing problem for the Hoosiers continues to be a lack of offensive production. As a team, IU has netted just two goals in four regular-season games, leading to only one victory.
Sophomore midfielder Daniel Kelly, a player who started at the forward position against South Florida and Dartmouth, said a positive attitude is what his team needs most.
“Everybody needs to believe in themselves and have the mind-set to score,” Kelly said. “We need to get the ball wide more and cross the ball in. It would be really important for us to get a win away from home.”
In UCLA, the Hoosiers will face a perennial top team with struggles of their own. The Bruins are 1-2-1 on the season after losing 3-0 to No. 1 Wake Forest and tying North Carolina 1-1 last week at the Wake Forest Classic.
With two ranked teams in desperate need of wins, IU coach Mike Freitag said the matchup in Los Angeles will be tough.
“Losing 3-0 to Wake Forest, they didn’t have the best weekend, either, so they are also going to be looking for a victory,” Freitag said. “I think they are young in some areas on the field and maybe we can expose that. It is going to be a great contest.”
Earning a victory against San Diego on Sunday afternoon will also be crucial for the Hoosiers. Though they are a meager 0-2-2 on the season, Freitag said his team would not overlook the Toreros.
“They are always a strong team and seem to be knocking off a top team each year,” Freitag said. “It will be a tough contest being the second game of the weekend on an afternoon in California. We will have to be at our best to win.”