A mixture of new and familiar faces featured for IU on Saturday evening in the first home game of the spring season.
IU and Saint Louis played to a 1-1 draw with both goals coming in the second half.
The Billikens traveled to Bloomington to face IU in a game where the Hoosiers set two goals for themselves. Neither were to win.
IU Coach Todd Yeagley said his two goals were to put different players on the field and to work on communication.
“Our passing and spacing, because we haven’t gone big a lot, wasn’t the sharpest and our thoughts weren’t the best at times offensively, but I thought as we grew into the game some things started to come together," Yeagley said.
The first half didn't see too much action. It was a half which had a lot of passing but no shots at either goalkeeper. The game didn't open up until the 64th minute, where freshman attacker Griffin Dorsey danced through Billiken defenders and was brought down in the box, awarding IU with a penalty.
Dorsey took his own penalty shot, which was placed in the bottom-right corner near the post. The ball was tipped by the Billiken keeper, and rolled across the touchline and into the net.
Saint Louis responded quickly.
In the 83rd minute, junior defender Timmy Mehl made a rash decision, fouling a Billiken attacker near the 16-yard box. Saint Louis was awarded a free kick in which they converted.
Billiken sophomore attacker Leo Novaes placed the free kick in the top-right corner, freezing IU junior goalkeeper Sean Caulfield.
It would be the last time the ball would touch the back of either net in a game where the Hoosiers could take out a lot of positives.
Sophomore defender A.J. Palazzolo paired up with freshman defender Jacob Meier to start on the backline for the Hoosiers. Junior defender Timmy Mehl eventually entered the fold, and IU saw different defensive rotations from the three. Yeagley said he liked what he saw from the young duo as well.
“They did a good job," Yeagley said. "A.J. has been good this spring. Timmy has had some experience now, but I thought A.J had good communication and he brought some good edge tonight. He handled most situations tonight well.”
Freshman midfielder Joe Schmidt was another young face to play for the Hoosiers. He was featured on the right wing to start the game, and he played alongside senior midfielders Trevor Swartz and Francesco Moore.
“Schmidt is one of those guys who redshirted last year, but in spring practices has been really good," Swartz said. "He didn’t get as many touches as he wanted tonight, but throughout practice he’s been great and going forward he’ll be a great part of this program I think.”
One of the biggest questions entering the 2018 season will be filling the goal-scoring void left by Mason Toye. Freshman attacker Justin Rennicks played significant minutes Saturday evening after his first season at IU was plagued with injury.
Swartz said he and other teammates have seen what Rennicks is capable of in training and are excited to see how he performs next season.
“I think Justin is obviously really good," Swartz said. "He’s just as big of a talent as Mason. He’s just got to get a couple more game reps, but I think going into next fall and the rest of spring you’ll see what we’ve been talking about.”
The Hoosiers have three more spring games left on the schedule, all within a few weeks, and Yeagley said the team's objectives will vary moving forward.
IU will face Butler on April 13 at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana. Following Butler, the Hoosiers will play against Notre Dame on April 22 in Fort Wayne. The last game of the spring season will be on April 29 in Bloomington where the Hoosiers will face the Mexico Youth National Team.
“Every game we’re going to have a different set of goals based on the personnel we’re putting out there and the opponent," Yeagley said. "Tonight, I thought they clearly were going to take something away from us and we had to solve that. We didn’t scout this game, we didn't know what they were going to come out with, so a lot of it was being able to solve that on the fly."
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