The Hoosiers haven’t trailed this season, they haven’t given up a goal in 779 minutes and they haven’t moved from the top spot in rankings for four weeks.
Week after week and game after game, the Hoosiers create more reasons to think they can be something special. Just three regular season matches remain. Those three matches are all against teams capable of giving the Hoosiers trouble. But, as the Hoosiers have done all season long, they will take it one game at a time.
Before Sunday’s match against Ohio State, junior midfielder Trevor Swartz was squarely focused on the Buckeyes. Now, Swartz and his teammates will square in on how to increase their win streak to nine straight when they travel Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. to the Butler Bowl to face the Butler Bulldogs.
“I didn’t even know we played Butler next,” Swartz said before the Ohio State match. “We’re just focused on Ohio State and on Big Ten points right now. When Butler comes we’ll figure that out as well.”
Butler scored the first two goals in the match. The Hoosiers had 17 more shots than the Bulldogs, but nothing was getting past Butler goalkeeper Eric Dick. Then, within a five-minute stretch, IU found the back of the net twice and got the match to overtime. Once in overtime, it took six minutes for then-sophomore midfielder Austin Panchot to find the back of the net and win the match for the Hoosiers.
That was last year, however, and this year’s team has a lot of new faces. Before a win Saturday against DePaul, the Bulldogs had dropped two straight games.
Still, these Hoosiers have said they look at each and every team with the same amount of respect as they march toward a potential ninth national championship.
“Every single game is a stepping stone to that,” Moore said. “We treat every single team with the same amount of respect. I think that’s our biggest goal.”
The Bulldogs no longer have their leading goal scorer from a season ago in David Goldsmith. He now plays with former Hoosier Tanner Thompson for the Indy Eleven. Replacing Goldsmith’s goal scoring output for the Bulldogs has been sophomore forward Brandon Guhl. He’s bagged 11 goals on 21 shots to go along with two assists.
Englishman and sophomore Lewis Suddick is also a big playmaker for Butler who played in last year’s match and has three goals and five assists on the season.
This will be IU’s third and final scheduled game of 2017 against an in-state opponent. These two teams have some history. The Hoosiers have the better part of that history having won 22 of the 29 all-time meetings.
This matchup, however, is a part of the bigger goal for the Hoosiers.
“We’ve won 12 games, we’ve tied two, we haven’t lost yet, but they don’t hand out trophies for going undefeated through 14 games,” IU junior midfielder Francesco Moore said. “We want to win the Big Ten regular season, we want to win the Big Ten Championship, and we want to win the national championship.”
A player tasked with holding those Butler players of the score sheet will be IU freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse. The freshman was just named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. He has helped the Hoosiers post eight straight shutouts, a program record.