So far this spring, the story of IU men’s soccer has been a tale of two halves.
Just as they had done in a 2-1 victory against Louisville two weeks ago, the Hoosiers
played a slow first half and surrendered a goal before responding in the second, tying Cincinnati 1-1 on Friday.
“First half, we were really out of sync,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said. “We weren’t sharp, we weren’t proactive in that first half. However, I thought we responded well and had a fairly good performance in the second half.”
The opening period consisted of ill-advised passes by IU and a lot of time attempting to keep the Bearcats at bay on the defensive end.
That meant constant action for freshman goalkeeper Luis Soffner, who faced six total Cincinnati shots, allowed one goal and recorded two saves.
Soffner said the heavy work on defense wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“It helps me feel a part of the team,” he said. “It helps me keep engaged in the game.
There are some games where I can go 20 or 30 minutes without even touching the ball at all. Today was a good test against a good team.”
Soffner and defenders sophomore Tommy Meyer and freshmen Matt Wiet and Chris Haffner faced pressure from the Bearcats early and often before Cincinnati’s D.J. Albert redirected a corner kick in for a score at 14:13.
IU entered the break trailing 1-0, prompting Yeagley to address his players’ performance in the locker room.
“We really challenged the team at halftime,” he said. “We were very reactive. A lot of key things that we’ve been spending a lot of time with, we were not doing well with.”
As a result, the Hoosiers returned to the field with renewed vigor.
As quickly as the Bearcats had scored in the first half, IU had sophomore forward Will Bruin beat Cincinnati’s goalkeeper one-on-one for the tying score at 57:26.
“We had a good halftime talk, and they went out and did it,” Yeagley said. “We addressed a few things, lit a little fire, and you saw in the second half what we’re more capable of playing like.”
The Hoosiers would finish with nine total shots against the Bearcats. The defense also benefited from the offense’s strong second half.
“Tonight in the second half ... they didn’t get to run a play, they didn’t get to dribble toward us,” Soffner said. “That’s what we’re working on, just staying together as a unit more than anything.”
While he was pleased with his team’s effort in the second half, Yeagley said he will look for more consistency as the spring season progresses.
“I thought the 30 minutes to start the second half was more like an IU team can play,” he said. “The Cincinnati coach right away after the game said, ‘That second half, you guys really took it to us,’ and that should have been for the 90.”