With two decisive victories this past weekend in Los Angeles, the men’s soccer team for the first time this season will have momentum on its side. And with Big Ten play approaching, it could not have come at a better time.
The Hoosiers (3-1-2) face conference foe Wisconsin (4-1-1) at 3 p.m. Sunday at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Junior midfielder Lee Hagedorn said he is finally starting to see the full potential of his team.
“We were getting a little too confident without proving anything quite yet,” Hagedorn said. “Now that we are playing together as a team, it shows that we are good enough to go get some good wins. We know we have what it takes to go pretty far.”
Before going on the West Coast trip, the team had three consecutive games without scoring a goal. But against UCLA and San Diego this past weekend, the offensive attack was suddenly effective, scoring five goals in the two games.
Sophomore forward/midfielder Andy Adlard, who scored his first goal of the season against San Diego last week, said it was only a matter of time before his team started getting the ball in the net.
“It was just a little phase, and every team has it,” Adlard said. “Those two games really gave us a lift. It was good for us to bounce back and get our team back on track.”
The only negative aspect taken from the California trip was the status of senior midfielder Brad Ring, who went out with an injury six minutes into the San Diego game and did not return. But IU coach Mike Freitag said Ring “just tweaked himself a little bit” and will start on Sunday.
In the Badgers, IU will face a tough conference team coming off of its first loss of the season. Wisconsin fell 1-0 to Binghamton last week in the UW-Milwaukee Panther Classic.
Wisconsin junior midfielder/forward Pablo Delgado Inglada, with two goals and three assists on the season, will likely be the main focus for IU’s defense.
Freitag said the matchup this weekend will be intense and highly contested, with both teams searching for their first Big Ten win.
“Any time you play a Big Ten team, you know they are going to bring out their best,” Freitag said. “Wisconsin is a good team who will come into Bloomington and try to sneak (a win). We want to play to our potential and if we do that, I think we win.”
Junior forward Darren Yeagle said the team will be ready to go come Sunday.
“I’m sure it will be a challenge for us,” Yeagle said. “But with this being the first Big Ten game, we will be coming out really fired up. Hopefully we go out there, work hard and become 1-0 in the Big Ten.”