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Saturday, June 22
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's soccer

Men's soccer opens Big Ten play with win


Coming into Sunday’s game against Ohio State, the IU men’s soccer team had collected more victories against the Buckeyes than any other team with 37 wins in 44 chances since 1973.

For an IU team with four losses in its first eight matches — the program’s worst start to a season since 1985 — the matchup provided an opportunity to turn the season around.

The Hoosiers were able to continue their domination with their first shutout victory of the season, defeating the Buckeyes 2-0.

IU controlled play for much of the first half, but was unable to find the net until sophomore midfielder Femi Hollinger-Janzen opened the scoring in the 34th minute with his fourth goal of the season.

Senior midfielder Harrison Petts created space for himself just outside the Buckeye box and fired a low shot toward goal, but the ball deflected off Hollinger-Janzen’s foot and rolled into the corner of the net.

“Harry just hit a great shot,” Hollinger-Janzen said of the goal. “I was making that run to try and get a rebound, and it hit off me somehow and went in. It was definitely all him. I just got lucky and got a sight on it.”

IU was able to double the lead a little more than three minutes later, with two seniors linking up for the Hoosiers’ second goal.

Senior defender Matt McKain collected the ball in the center circle and took off down the right sideline, sending in a cross to senior midfielder Nikita Kotlov.

IU Coach Todd Yeagley said the headed goal from Kotlov, on which two Buckeye defenders were draped on him, displayed the midfielder’s athleticism.

“If he would’ve missed it, I would have thought a PK would have been called because he was completely undercut,” Yeagley said. “It just shows how strong and athletic he is.

“He’s one of the best I’ve ever worked with or played with in the air. He can be really special, and the way he attacked that was really good.”

In an uneventful second half, the Hoosiers appeared content to sit on the 2-0 lead, mustering only eight shots after taking 25 in the first half.

Their best chance at a third goal came in the 81st minute, when freshman forward Tommy Thompson created a one-on-one with the Ohio State goalkeeper, but his rolled shot deflected off the post and denied the Hoosiers a third goal.

Sophomore goalkeeper Michael Soderlund was tested infrequently throughout the match en route to his first career shutout, making five saves in the process.

“It was great,” Soderlund said. “I was by no means perfect, but it was great to finally get that clean sheet.

“I thought it was one of our best games organizationally. There were a couple of plays in the box that were pretty hectic, but other than that, my defense did a great job limiting them.”

With the win, IU improved to 4-4-1 on the season and began Big Ten play on a positive note, winning its conference opener for the seventh consecutive season.

The Hoosiers have never lost a Big Ten opener since the conference began sanctioning men’s soccer in 1991.

Yeagley said starting conference play with a win will pay dividends for his team throughout the season.

“It’s really important, especially where we are in the season,” he said. “When you start with the three points in conference, it feels really good, and we’ve been able to do that year in and year out.

“It’s a short-track race, and every point is huge. A home game, to get the three points, I wouldn’t say it’s a necessity starting off, but it really puts us on the right path.”

Follow reporter Alden Woods on Twitter @acw9293.

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