The Hoosier offense had eight premium scoring opportunities within the first 20 minutes against Northwestern on Sunday afternoon.
Freshman Wildcat goalkeeper Robbie White turned away three shots in that time span while facing nine total shots in the first half of his first career start. Determined to get on the scoreboard, IU fired 17 shots in the second half against the Wildcats, but not one of them found the back of the net.
The Hoosiers were being wrapped up down low and weren’t able to get quality chances inside the box. Even though IU outshot Northwestern 28-3 in the game, at the end of regulation and two overtime periods, the Hoosiers stayed tied with the Wildcats, 0-0.
“Difficult to not have a win after as much as we had the ball today,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “I didn’t think our finishing was very sharp, and we can do much better.”
The 28 shots by IU was tied for the second most against a Big Ten team in school history, but not one of those shots proved to be the difference after 110 minutes of play.
Prior to the match IU knew how Northwestern was going to play: sit in on defense and challenge the Hoosier offense to create its own shots. That’s exactly what the Wildcats did.
With the Hoosier offense gunning from the start, an early goal would have been crucial in the game. Instead, IU couldn’t break the backline and all game the Hoosiers left wondering when the breakthrough would happen.
“That’s always what you want to do is get up on a team that likes to sit in and put them away within the first 20 minutes,” senior forward Richard Ballard said. “I think we had chances throughout the whole 90 minutes, but it was just that type of day.”
Senior defender Tanner Thompson was the ignition on offense for IU. He created dangerous chances from midfield and used his quick feet to get around the perimeter of the Northwestern defense.
The Loomis Bay, California, native totaled a game-high six shots in the draw and tried to make a positive mark against a team that had lost five consecutive matches.
“They just put a lot of numbers,” Yeagley said about the Wildcat defense. “It wasn’t all that complicated to get there. It was just the final quality. We have to be sharper on third against teams that play that deep.”
Yeagley tried to shake up the lineup in the second half by inserting sophomore midfielder Rees Wedderburn. Yeagley said that he thought the creativity and intelligence that Wedderburn brought to the game could pay off because of Wedderburn’s ability to read when to make a pass or take a shot.