IU allowed 38 goals in 2013, which is 20 more than it allowed in the 2012 season. Tuesday, a backline consisting of two freshman held strong against a Xavier attack which produced just one shot in the first half.
“I think the back line did well,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “Xavier’s a good team. I thought in the first half we did a nice job limiting chances.”
The Musketeers began to see much more of the ball at the start of the second half and found the back of the net with 17 minutes to play on the counter attack.
“It was just an unlucky goal,” freshman Grant Lillard said. “Derek made a great tackle, just went off the guy’s shin and went right back to him.”
The IU offense tallied eight shots in the first half but, other than making the crossbar shake twice, had nothing to show for it.
The first shot which rang off the crossbar came from senior left back Patrick Doody.
The ball popped out to Doody about 30 yards from goal, and it caromed down off the crossbar right on the line but not over.
The second came off the head of senior midfielder Jamie Vollmer .
After his header rebounded into the middle of the box, Lillard had a wide-open shot from six yards out that he sent sailing.
“I went to kick it, leaned back and skied it over,” Lillard said. “Just disappointing, I’ve got to do better than that next time.”
IU sent seven more shots toward goal in the second half. This time they managed to only knock one off the crossbar, while still sending no balls into the back of the net.
“The attacking part will come more as we get guys on the same page,” Yeagley said. “We had very few players in spots they played last year. It’s not going to happen day one exhibition with tired legs.”
For all the times IU wound up to shoot, Xavier goalkeeper Vince Shaw was only called into action twice all night.
Many Hoosier goal efforts were sent sailing into the night sky, while many crosses went untouched.
“We’d obviously rather see the ball in the back of the net,” sophomore Tanner Thompson said. “But sometimes chances don’t go your way. We have to do a better job finishing them.”
A key bright spot was the performance of freshman Grant Lillard in central defense.
The Chicago Fire academy player spent the full 90 minutes thwarting many Xavier attacks.
“He’s the piece that we need,” Yeagley said. “He brings size, and we’re not a huge team.”
One piece missing from the IU attack was junior forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen.
Hollinger-Janzen tallied five goals last season to tie for the team lead. The offense was missing one of its key cogs with Hollinger-Janzen on the sideline, Yeagley said.
“Some of the things we were struggling with a bit in the second half, he’s the player that would change that,” Yeagley said.