Indiana Daily Student

Men's soccer takes non-conference road trip to Indianapolis

Sophomore midfielder Andy Adlard heads the ball during the Hoosiers' 2-1 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Sept. 26 at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Sophomore midfielder Andy Adlard heads the ball during the Hoosiers' 2-1 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Sept. 26 at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

Searching for a way to explain the IU men’s soccer team’s near misses and defensive mistakes, IU coach Mike Freitag urged his players to be as vigilant as a chicken.

“You have to be the mother hen back there and worry about the chicken coop,” Freitag said. “You have to be ready all the time for any breakdown there is.”

Near misses and defensive errors pervaded IU’s (5-3-2) recent poor play.

After dropping a 1-0 decision to Michigan on Saturday, the No. 20 Hoosiers look to regroup against an unranked Butler (6-1-2) team.

IU lost two of its past three games. Defensively, the Hoosiers have not shutout an opponent since defeating then-No. 24 UCLA 3-0 on Sept. 12.

Last year’s Hoosiers had a 6-3-1 record at this time. They eventually lost in the Big Ten championship game to Ohio State on penalty kicks, and they were defeated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by Bradley.

Tuesday’s match against the Bulldogs will allow the Hoosiers to redeem themselves. Senior goalkeeper Chay Cain said the team spent time in practice reviewing their weaknesses.

“We need to focus on the smaller details,” Cain said. “That’s the lesson we’ve been learning lately. Small details are the difference between winning and losing.”

Sophomore forward Neil Wilmarth reiterated Cain’s assertion about the team’s need to concentrate on both the offensive and defensive aspects.

“We just need to make sure we can put together a full 90 minutes of soccer,” Wilmarth said. “Just finish our opportunities, stay clicked in for 90 minutes, and we’ll come out with a victory.”

One hindrance to a possible Hoosier victory will be senior midfielder Brad Ring’s suspension. Ring will sit out Tuesday after receiving his fifth yellow card against Michigan on Saturday. Cain said he is confident any player off the bench can replace Ring, a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection last year.

As the leader in NCAA Tournaments and College Cup appearances, IU men’s soccer retains a victorious reputation. Each year produces high expectations, and Freitag said the Hoosiers are always targets for other teams.

“We’ve been wearing the heavy jersey for a long time,” Freitag said. “I think guys are used to that. I think they enjoy that, especially on the road some place else when team is pumped up, fans are pumped up, and they want to spoil our party.”

Cain agreed with his coach, saying IU will have to come out prepared for Butler, who will play in Kuntz Stadium, home to IU-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“It’s almost a mindset that you know when you’re on the road when you play for Indiana,” Cain said. “They’re going to have the crowd there. They’re going to have everybody there to get them an advantage, so you have to have that extra focus.”

Currently the Hoosiers achieved better results on the road than at Bill Armstrong Stadium. IU is 3-1-1 while away and 2-2-1 at home. Freitag cited readiness as a factor in the Hoosiers’ away matches and said playing at home can make it easier for the team to relax.

“When you’re on the road, you know what you’re there for,” Freitag said. “You’re in your hotel, there’s tunnel vision. There’s a lot of distractions possibly when at home, you have girlfriends, class, could be distractions. Guys need to be able to handle that psychological part of the game.”

As a four-year member of the team, Cain said he isn’t worried about the Hoosiers’ year just yet.

“We’ve been through the bumps in the road before,” he said. ”We realize that it’s only going to make us stronger as the season goes on.”

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