It’s about time.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams turned in some of the best performances of the season last weekend, but it remains to be seen whether the teams can use these results to turn their campaigns around.
IU women’s coach Mick Lyon and the Hoosiers face a near-impossible road to repeat last season’s round of 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Heading into the weekend, IU was 0-6 in conference play with games against in-state rival Purdue and No. 25 Illinois.
With a tie against the Boilermakers and a victory against Illinois, Lyon and the Hoosiers earned their first four points of the conference season.
More importantly, the team got a boost of confidence heading into the season’s final weeks.
“Oh my god, I jumped in the air,” freshman goalkeeper Lindsey Campbell told the Indiana Daily Student after the Illinois game. “It was a great feeling. We’ve been looking for that all season, and it just finally happened.”
The problem is these two games might have come a little too late in the season. The Hoosiers are currently in last place in the Big Ten. Only eight teams advance to the conference tournament, so IU will have to win both its conference games this weekend to have a chance to qualify for the tournament.
Even with two wins, the team will likely need help from other teams to move into the top eight in the conference. Winning the conference tournament crown is the only way the Hoosiers can make the NCAA Tournament, as the team’s regular season record does not merit an at-large berth into the post season.
For the men’s team and coach Mike Freitag, a 3-1 victory against No. 9 Notre Dame could be the spark that gets this talented collection of players to consistently put together complete performances.
Freitag said after the victory he hopes his players remember the feeling of putting together a complete game in the remaining matchups.
“It’s a game that shows the players have a feeling what’s it like to have to play a 90-minute game,” Freitag told the IDS. “It’s a feeling we’ve had in other games, but now we can’t forget it.”
Nobody has ever doubted the talent on this team. Freitag has continued to bring in talented recruiting classes, including the current freshmen on this team.
The team has just failed to capitalize on chances this season, which has led to a string of disappointing results over the past few weeks.
Hoosier fans should be happy to see the team respond to disappointing losses with a big win against Notre Dame, but the team will need to keep turning in complete games to be a factor in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
Maybe it will be good the Hoosiers are flying a bit under the radar.
IU will be an underdog at Bill Armstrong Stadium tonight for the second consecutive game as the No. 22 Hoosiers take on No. 14 Louisville. The team will need to come out and play against the Cardinals like it did against the Irish to get the win.
“It’s weird to be on an IU soccer team that’s underrated,” senior forward Kevin Noschang said. “We were the underdog, and that’s never been the case, especially at home. We just wanted to show the country what we’re capable of.”
If the team keeps showing the country what it’s capable of, the Hoosiers just might put together a College Cup run come December.