Being ranked No. 1 in the country comes with a responsibility, and IU may have learned that Wednesday.
The No. 18 Michigan Wolverines came into Wednesday’s match with the same record as IU.
Four wins, no losses and a tie.
Coming in, the Wolverines had yet to leave Ann Arbor, Michigan, and had not played a ranked opponent. Both of those things changed Wednesday. They were up for the battle against the No. 1 Hoosiers.
It took extra time for the Hoosiers and Wolverines to ultimately share the points in a 1-1 draw on a rainy Wednesday night at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
“I thought we were the most dangerous team on the field tonight,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “That said, they’re very athletic and they give to get a little bit. They have some special players that can make plays.”
The first half may have belonged to the Hoosiers, but Michigan came out attacking in the second half. Both sides went end-to-end in the second 45 minutes. Michigan had its chances and the Hoosiers had theirs.
IU, however, got its breakthrough first in the 12th minute on a breakaway. IU freshman forward Thomas Warr started an attack and had his first shot saved by Michigan sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Verdi. Next, Verdi saved the rebound shot by freshman midfielder Griffin Dorsey. Then, the third time was the charm. Junior defender Andrew Gutman tapped it in and IU had a 1-0 advantage.
It was Gutman’s third goal of the season.
“I think this summer I really focused on keeping the ball on frame,” Gutman said. “Last year I created a lot of offense, but it wasn’t a lot of smart offense. This year, I feel I’m a lot smarter with the ball, I’m sharing a lot better.”
The first half wore on and IU kept its lead. Yeagley told the Big Ten Network crew after halftime that his side needed to keep attacking Michigan. He also mentioned they had a few casual giveaways.
In the second half, it was Michigan who brought the attack to IU. It didn’t take the Wolverines long to find an equalizer as freshman midfielder Umar Farour Osman’s cross found the head of junior midfielder Robbie Mertz in the 50th minute. The pace of the two wingers for Michigan gave IU fits for most of the night.
“That’s one of the most athletic team’s in the country, honestly,” Yeagley said. “They have some really athletic players in the front positions. We knew that … If we would have gotten a few more passes in the higher lines, I think we would have taken those guys out of the game quicker and had more success.”
After the equalizer, both teams were pushing, but couldn’t find a winner. Both IU and Michigan then had close chances in extra time, but they still couldn’t find the back of the net. IU finished with 17 shots to Michigan’s 13.
Now, IU travels to a Northwestern team Sunday that has just one victory on the season. The Hoosiers will be looking for their first win in Big Ten play after starting with two draws. Last year in two matches, IU had one goal on 43 shots. The Wildcats sat back a lot last season, but this year IU will just play its game.
“Just have to continue to play how we’re playing,” Gutman said. “Just have to put them away. Tonight we weren’t sharp enough so we’ll work on it in training and get after it on Sunday.”
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