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Sunday, Dec. 3
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's soccer

IU men's soccer still kicking in Big Ten tournament

Men's Soccer vs. Ohio State

On a strike from sophomore forward Will Bruin 20 seconds into the second half, the No. 4-seeded IU men’s soccer team took a lead it would not give up.

It defeated No. 5 seed Wisconsin 2-0 Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

It was a game Bruin described Tuesday as a “must-win.”

“We know we have the talent to do some things and we just had to gel,” Bruin said. “Right now is the right time to be gelling.”

Senior forward Darren Yeagle put the game away for good 22 minutes later off a Bruin miss.

IU recorded 22 shots in the game, while Wisconsin had only seven.

Freshman keeper Luis Soffner got the start for IU, replacing injured Nemanja Kostic.  
“I was playing a little bit lower than my potential,” said Soffner, who lost his starting spot to Kostic before the senior pulled his quad in a Nov. 6 win against Penn State. “I knew I had to jump in and pick up where I left off at the beginning of the season.”

Soffner benefitted from solid defense, as he didn’t have to make his first save of the contest until the 81st minute. It was his seventh shutout of the season.

“I didn’t get much today,” Soffner said. “What did come my way, I just tried to take care of it as best as I could.”

Former IU player and assistant coach Todd Yeagley, who is in his first year as Wisconsin’s coach, returned to coach against his former team for the first time in Bloomington. IU defeated Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. on Sept. 25.

“It’s a group that has a lot of talent if they can get on the same page,” said Todd Yeagley, the son of former IU coach Jerry Yeagley. “This Indiana team can make a deep run at it. It’s been an up-and-down year for them and, obviously, I wish them the best in the tournament.”

With a record of 7-9-2, Wisconsin needed a win Thursday to keep its hopes alive for an NCAA selection.

IU coach Mike Freitag said his team, on the other hand, is finally showing signs of its potential.

“The pieces are starting to fall into place,” he said. “It’s taken us a while to find the right combo. I think we’ve found it, and now you’re starting to see us play a little bit better.”

Now 10-8-1, the Hoosiers’ NCAA Tournament hopes become more realistic, as the team’s record is good enough for selection eligibility and its strength of schedule is in the top 10 nationally.

Despite this, the Hoosiers say their eyes are on the program’s 12th Big Ten Tournament championship.

“I think we’re gaining confidence as a team,” Freitag said. “When the pieces start falling together and you start getting wins, everything starts going better.”

In order to gain the title the Hoosiers were chosen to win in the preseason, IU will have to meet No. 1 seed Ohio State in the semifinal Friday at 2 p.m. with just more than 24 hours of rest.

IU fell to Ohio State 1-0 at home Nov. 1.

“Two weeks ago, we were down,” Bruin said. “I think now we’ve got our swagger back a little bit.”

As far as desired revenge goes against the Buckeyes, Bruin said the Hoosiers have not forgotten the two teams’ last meeting.

“We’ve got a lot of motivation for that,” he said with a smile. “That’s still bitter in our mouths because we know we had our chances that game to put them away early and we didn’t. We’re going to make sure we do that tomorrow.”

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