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Wednesday, Nov. 29
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's soccer

IU loses 3 straight shutouts, now 7-7-1

For the third straight game, the IU men’s soccer team went scoreless, this time at the hands of No. 12 Northwestern in a 2-0 loss Sunday in Evanston, Ill.

“It’s not what they did,” freshman forward Tim Wylie said. “We came out flat in second half, and we started doing a little too much. Credit goes to them, though. They won. We blame ourselves, and we’re paying for it now.”

IU’s first loss ever at Northwestern broke an 11-game Hoosier road win streak in Evanston. More importantly, though, it dropped IU to 7-7-1 (2-2) on the year.

“I think all of them are must-wins,” IU coach Mike Freitag said. “The way I look at it, you should win every game to be a good team. It was very disappointing.”

Despite missing sophomore forward Will Bruin, who was sidelined for getting a red card in last week’s loss at Louisville, the Hoosiers opened up play Sunday in control, spreading the field and possessing at will. 

That changed in the second half when Northwestern forward Matt Eliason snuck one by freshman goalkeeper Luis Soffner at 62:12 to put the Wildcats up 1-0.

Forward Oliver Kupe netted Northwestern’s second goal of the match with 11 minutes to play after breaking through the IU defense to go one-on-one with Soffner.

“Once they got their first goal, I felt like our whole team needed to come out and play better,” sophomore defender Tommy Meyer said. “We didn’t do that tonight.”

After Sunday’s shutout, the Hoosiers have gone 227:22 without netting a goal.

“Right now, I think we’re a bunch of guys searching for answers,” Freitag said. “There is not a lot of confidence right now and not a lot of leadership.”

With an even .500 record, thoughts begin to turn to the postseason.

IU has three games left in its regular season, all of which will be played at home. In order to reach an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, a team must have at least a .500 record or better.

“It’s something that’s in everybody’s mind,” Freitag said. “Our saving grace is that we have the Big Ten Tournament at our place. Hopefully home field will help us.”

IU has 33 NCAA Tournament appearances and has not missed the tournament since 1986.

Wylie said his team’s focus is on its remaining schedule and playing for a conference title that would earn the team an automatic bid to the NCAAs. 

“We know we have a tougher route now,” he said. “We’ll make (the NCAA Tournament). We haven’t been getting results we need. So now, to be safe, an automatic berth is winning Big Ten Tournament.”

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