Rain poured onto Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium as Todd Yeagley made his debut as IU men’s soccer coach Sunday.
But the showers didn’t dampen the Hoosiers’ performance, as they scored two goals in the second half to claim a 2-1 victory against Louisville in the first of six contests during the spring season.
“It was a wonderful feeling, obviously, to get out and play today, quality aside, and get this spring kicked off,” said Yeagley, the son of IU Hall of Fame coach Jerry Yeagley.
Having seen his IU players from the outside as coach at Wisconsin during the 2009 season, Yeagley said he was excited to experiment with them.
“Overall, where we are and where we want to be with this group is good,” he said.
While much attention was centered on Yeagley’s debut, the team was also glad to get back onto the field for its first action of 2010.
“It was amazing to be out there,” said freshman midfielder Joe Tolen, who scored the game-winning goal for the Hoosiers. “I think we were definitely hungry. We’ve had a long spring of working hard, playing with each other and wanting to get on the field and make the most of it.”
Tolen added that the players were excited to play for Yeagley.
“He’s so helpful, and he’s so positive,” Tolen said. “He tries every day to get the best out of us, and he really leaves a lot of responsibility to us to bring everything we can in training and make the most of it.”
As for the game itself, the tale was one of two halves for IU.
Louisville attacked aggressively in the first half, as six players took shots at IU freshman goalkeeper Luis Soffner. The Hoosiers, however, only managed three shots, all from sophomore forward Will Bruin.
Neither team could score until 33:30, when Louisville’s Buck Tufty fired a cross shot into the back of the IU goal to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
However, the Hoosiers launched an offensive early in the second period and tied the game when Bruin sent a low roller into the Louisville goal to tie the game at 54:23.
Bruin finished with four shots and an assist to go with his goal.
The wet conditions allowed for several rough tackles on both sides. Junior defender Daniel Kelly was shaken up twice.
“In a competitive game, there are going to be hard tackles,” Yeagley said. “Certainly injuries are a part of the game ... but you need to play through them.”
IU’s offense showed up in the second half where it didn’t in the first. The team would earn five more shots from four other players in the second half.
In the final 10 minutes of play, the Hoosiers sealed the win with Tolen’s unassisted goal at 84:35.
Overall, the new coach liked what he saw from his team.
“What I saw was about 65 or 70 minutes of solid soccer,” Yeagley said. “Overall, the result was there, and when you talk about this group, they find ways to win.”