The stat line from Sunday night for sophomore defender A.J. Palazzolo reads 36 minutes played, one shot, one shot on goal and one goal.
One year ago, Palazzolo couldn’t play due to injury: “Big turnaround a year later,” he said to IU athletics following Sunday’s game.
You may look at 36 minutes in a 90-minute game and think he’s still getting his legs under him. That’s probably true. But, the shortened playing time Palazzolo had was just one of many examples Coach Todd Yeagley used to help the No. 2-ranked Hoosiers outlast the No. 3-ranked Tar Heels.
Yeagley made 11 substitutions throughout the game and played seven players off the bench, while UNC played just two.
Sophomore Griffin Dorsey and senior Andrew Gutman were the only two Hoosiers to play all 90 minutes. The other 16 who saw the field all played under 80 minutes.
Meanwhile, six Tar Heels played all 90 minutes.
From the get-go, North Carolina was on the attack and held on to possession for most of the first half. Yeagley said halftime was when his team made some adjustments and looked sharper.
The UNC pressure remained in the second half, but Yeagley didn’t hesitate inserting fresh legs when he thought necessary, and IU stayed resilient.
Even when sophomore starting goalkeeper Trey Muse went out in the 57th minute after getting injured and junior Sean Caulfield came in for the following 22 minutes, he kept the Tar Heels scoreless until Muse returned again with 11 minutes left.
It was an all-out team performance. A resilient one that kept absorbing body blow after body blow until, finally, with two minutes remaining, the free kick from senior Trevor Swartz found Palazzolo’s head to seal the Hoosiers first win of the season.
If you looked at just the stats for shots on Sunday, it wouldn’t be ignorant to assume North Carolina had pulled out a victory.
They had 11 shots to IU’s three. The only difference was the Hoosiers found the back of the net in one of their attempts.
It was also much needed after suffering a double-overtime loss to No. 5 Wake Forest just two days prior.
The versatility of players on this roster has the potential to be a weapon all season long and help keep the team fresh as the season goes.
From a team that kept opponents scoreless for 966:28 minutes last year — the fourth longest streak in NCAA history — the same type of defensive toughness and resilience seemed present Sunday night against the third-best team in the nation.
Ninety minutes of shutout soccer are in the books. Let the streak begin.
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