Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's soccer

Offensive woes a thing of the past

Freshman Will Bruin, left, struggles to retain possession of the ball as Wisconsin's Eric Conklin grabs his shirt during a game on Sunday at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

As the fall season officially begins, a change is in the air for the men’s soccer team.

After last Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win against Big Ten foe Wisconsin, the No. 14 Hoosiers (4-1-2) are riding a three-game winning streak. IU has scored eight goals in the past three games after finishing three consecutive scoreless matches.

Junior defender Ofori Sarkodie said the team is feeding off a new-found confidence.

“We got that swagger back,” Sarkodie said. “It says a lot about the team, the front line, how guys have been staying focused on putting their opportunities away.”

Saturday’s opponent, UC-Santa Barbara (4-3-0), was crushed by top-ranked Wake Forest 6-2 on Sunday and have lost three of their past four games.

Despite the Gauchos’ poor play, Sarkodie said IU will not take the visitors lightly.

“Right now they’re a team that’s hungry, that’s looking for a win,” Sarkodie said. “They’re going to come here with a point to prove or at least to try to make a name for themselves. Playing Indiana at Indiana for any team is a big thing.”

But as they near the midpoint of the season, the team is still feeling the sting of past losses and disappointments. The Hoosiers entered the pre-season ranked No. 7 and justified their ranking with 3-1 and 3-0 preseason wins against Tulsa and North Carolina, respectively.

But after defeating Duke, they tied the next two games with then-No. 12 Akron and South Florida, and were crushed 4-0 by then-unranked Dartmouth.

Junior midfielder Lee Hagedorn acknowledged his team became complacent after its early victories.

“We thought we were doing really good, and we kind of got punched in the nose against Dartmouth,” Hagedorn said. “I think we learned our lesson. That’s not going to happen again.”

Having cured their offensive drought, sophomore forward Andy Adlard said IU is looking to repair their defensive mental lapses. Both goals scored against the Hoosiers on Sunday came after restarts, one of them less than a minute after IU scored.

“It’s been nice getting back to three goals, two goals in a game,” Adlard said. “We know we can create the chances. We just need to fix our defensive shape and marking on set pieces.”

As their offensive concentration has improved, Hagedorn said their defensive psyche is yet to catch up.

“A lot of it’s a mindset; you just have to be prepared to get to the ball and think you’re going to be the first person to it,” Hagedorn said. “There’s only so much you can do except being mentally prepared for them.”

With almost a third of the team being freshmen or transfers, the Hoosiers have been struggling to find a rhythm. After practicing and competing for more than a month, coach Mike Freitag said the team is finally getting to know each other’s tendencies and styles of play.

“It just takes time for chemistry, for me to know what you do and you to know what I do,” Freitag said. “The longer you play together, the longer you play against opponents, you start developing that chemistry and understanding.”

Get stories like this in your inbox