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IU welcomes in U-18 Mexico Team for annual match


Freshman forward Austin Panchot shoots the ball against the Mexican U-20 National Team on Sunday at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The Hoosiers beat Mexico 2-0. Noble Guyon and Noble Guyon Buy Photos

The last time IU took to Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium the final scene was one of disappointment. 

IU suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Virginia Tech Hokies. An extra time loss bounced the Hoosiers from the NCAA Tournament. Almost every Hoosier on the field sat on the ground in despair as their season came to a close.

Since then, they have moved on. A new recruiting class has been signed, graduating players signed professional contracts and redshirted players from a season ago have started to make an influence in the spring season. 

IU concludes its spring season Sunday by welcoming the Under-18 Mexican Youth National Team on Sunday to Bill Armstrong Stadium. 

“It’s always been a highlight moment for our players, our fans and everyone in Bloomington,” Yeagley said in a video released by IU Athletics. “I’m excited to see how we can finish this last game Sunday.”

Thus far in the spring season, IU hasn't had much to be upset about. In the small-squad matches and the full-squad matches, the Hoosiers have taken care of business. IU knocked off Notre Dame in penalty kicks and took care of both the Cincinnati Bearcats and United Soccer League side Swope Park Rangers. 

A big storyline this spring season comes with position replacements. Tanner Thompson is no longer controlling the midfield in the No. 10 role. Christian Lomeli and Colin Webb also won't be between the pipes in goal. IU Coach Todd Yeagley has been able to use these spring season matches to experiment with new lineups.

“It’s continue to find depth and getting sharper in different areas,” Yeagley said of the spring season. “We’ve been spending a lot of time becoming a more efficient team in the mid-third and getting more dangerous in the final third." 

Many of the familiar names are returning. Guys like defenders rising senior Grant Lillard and rising junior Andrew Gutman. Midfielders rising junior Trevor Swartz, rising junior Jeremiah Gutjahr and rising redshirt-junior Francesco Moore. A pair of forwards, rising junior Austin Panchot and rising senior Rashad Hyacenth, are also back. There’s still a lot of star power, but there will no doubt be some new names. 

In goal, it’s been rising redshirt-sophomore Sean Caulfield much of the spring season. The Eastlake, Florida, native has yet to see action during the spring season, but has been stellar in his action during the spring season. There are a few other options that Yeagley could end up choosing come August, but the early returns from Caulfield have been promising. 

“I thought Sean did well,” Yeagley said after the Notre Dame match in a video released by IU Athletics. “Pleased on his progress. He’s learning to manage a game, not being a 90-minute experienced player. He’s learning on the run, and we’re pleased with his progress thus far.”

A Mexican Youth National Team has made the trip to Bloomington 10 previous times with Sunday’s match being the 11th meeting. IU has a 4-6 mark against their Mexican counterparts but did get a 2-0 win last season against the U-20 team. 

“Experimentation, depth in the midfield and in the final phase have all been a focus,” Yeagley said. “We’ll continue to put those players in those positions.”

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