IU took free kicks, jumped for headers and, for 345 minutes, failed to put the ball in the net – until senior midfielder Lee Hagedorn changed the Hoosiers’ downhill course.
“It was a whole 90-minute performance,” Hagedorn said. “Some games, we let up at the last second and give away goals. This time, we stayed focused the whole time and really put together a nice performance in its entirety.”
Indiana ended their three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory against the Evansville Purple Aces at home Wednesday.
“We haven’t done as well as we’ve liked to here at home, and we have great fans coming day in and day out to support us,” Hagedorn said. “It was good to actually get a win at home in front of our fans.”
Senior goalkeeper Nemanja Kostic provided the fans with a new style in-goal when he made his first start Wednesday. Kostic brought an aggressive style to Jerry Yeagley’s pitch.
“This was the first time that it did actually take me a while to get settled in, but I’m fine now,” Kostic said about his first start in a IU jersey after transferring from Maine. “I wish I was a freshman.”
However, Kostic’s seniority showed on the field with improved play from the defense.
“I thought Nemo played within himself,” IU coach Mike Freitag said. “He gave us some confidence and handled things cleanly. It’s hard for him being a starter coming here and not starting until tonight, but he’s handled himself like a professional.”
The win kept the Hoosiers from tying the program’s longest losing streak, which came in 1985.
“Tonight I thought we played within ourselves and did everything we needed to be successful,” Freitag said. “This is a hard team to play against. The guys executed today and we fought.”
IU snapped the program’s second-longest scoreless streak, which stood at 377:53 during the 2008 season.
“I think the guys know. It’s time you gotta put up or shut up,” Freitag said. “We were focused from the start and we played 90 minutes. That was the key, we played 90 minutes.”
During an aggressive but uneventful first half, the Hoosiers pushed, shoved and fought their way to try and score, but none of their five attempts were successful. With only two goals scored during the first half of games this season, not much more was to be expected.
“I’m hoping there’s aggressive play on the field every night,” Freitag said. “At times I think we’ve been a little bit lax here at the end of the season. Sometimes you just have to get after it.”
On the third shot of the second half, Hagedorn’s kick gave Indiana their first goal in 14 days. The Columbus, Ind., native tacked on his second goal of the 2009 season.
“Lee’s a young man that people sometimes question his ability,” Freitag said. “I have no question about his ability. He’s going to fight. He’s going to work. You know he’s going to do something positive for your team.”
Rough play continued with three yellow cards and a scuffle between defenders. IU stayed focused and solidified their win when freshman midfielder Nick Blevins gave his team the confidence boost they talked about needing this week when he scored a goal in the 67th minute.
“We know we got a talented group – we know we got good players,” Hagedorn said. “I think we found the right mix now to get going forward. Now, we got our confidence back.
“I know we can take on anyone.”