The regular season schedule so far has prepared the IU men’s soccer team for anything it can anticipate this year, and it’s no different this week.
IU Coach Todd Yeagley and his team will travel north to South Bend, Indiana, on Tuesday to battle No. 2 Notre Dame in a nonconference game.
IU is coming off a statement overtime win against No. 7 Butler on Sept. 28 and has faced four ranked teams already this season. Tuesday’s game begins a three-game stretch against two top-10 teams and a conference opponent for IU during the next week.
“We’ve seen every style, and so I think it’s prepared us for these big games,” Yeagley said. “We just have to go out and execute. The guys will be prepared, we’ll have the tendencies down and have a little plan, but the game will be won on the field with the players.”
One player that will be circled in IU’s game plan will be Notre Dame forward Jon Gallagher. The junior Irishman has netted eight goals in nine games for Notre Dame and is top 10 in the nation in goals scored.
Although Gallagher is a prolific goal scorer, IU will be prepared for the tough task given the high quality of attackers they’ve already faced this season. The Hoosiers went up against Butler’s David Goldsmith last week, who is third in the nation with 10 goals, and Maryland’s Gordon Wild early in the conference season, who has nine goals this year.
IU’s defense enters the match ranked seventh in the country in team goals against average per game. Yeagley said his team won’t necessarily stop Gallagher from being a factor on the field, but they will try to eliminate his spacing on the field knowing that it’s no different than the opposition preparing for IU senior midfielder Tanner Thompson.
“We’ll try to eliminate his touches, space and tendencies, but he’s multifaceted,” Yeagley said. “You just hope to eliminate his most dangerous movements and have good help and also have him play in areas that he isn’t as comfortable.”
Along with IU’s numerous tough battles against ranked opponents this season, it also had scoreless draws and tight games against unranked opponents as well that have prepared the team to this point.
Against Northwestern and Rutgers, opposing defenses sat in the IU offensive zone, forcing IU to take a high number of shots, but IU could never break the defensive seal.
As the Hoosiers move forward to play teams that match up better against them, the pitch will open up more, generating higher-quality scoring opportunities and giving a natural flow to the game, something the Hoosiers are comfortable with.
After not having a match this past weekend, IU had six days in between the Butler and Notre Dame games, marking its longest stretch this season.
Yeagley said it was nice for some of his guys to get rested up, especially at this point in the season, but he also knows that they need to be ready when they take the pitch at Alumni Stadium on Tuesday night. He said this game will go a long way when building a resume for the postseason.
“It’s nice to have that break after a good win,” Yeagley said. “I think psychologically we’re in a good place. Our guys are excited. It’s a really good healthy rivalry, and we’re really focused on this game and not the Big Ten game on the weekend.”
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.
More in Sports
IU looks to build momentum after its upset victory over No. 18 Penn State.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won its first World Series in 32 years.
Javon Swinton and Jacolby Hewitt combined for three catches against Penn State.