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Three things to know before IU opens the home season



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Then-junior midfielder Austin Panchot celebrates with teammate Rece Buckmaster after scoring a goal against Notre Dame on Sept. 26, 2017, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. IU will host the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic this weekend.  Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

After a pair of top-10 clashes last weekend, things still look difficult for the No. 6 Hoosiers this weekend. 

Starting Friday night, IU will take on No. 22 Dartmouth and follow that up with No. 18 Connecticut on Sunday night as part of the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic.

Just like IU, No. 24 Notre Dame will also face off against UConn and Dartmouth. The Hoosiers will play right after each match.

Here are three things to know before IU takes the pitch for the home-opening weekend at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

Experienced Strikers

Both Dartmouth and UConn rely on a senior forward. 

Abdou Mbacke Thiam has scored at least 10 goals each season for the Huskies. He’s ranked as the 69th best player in the country by Top Drawer Soccer and has one goal on 16 shots through the first two games. Thiam is at his best toward the end of games, netting 16 golden goals throughout the past three seasons.

Eduvie Ikoba only started 13 of 17 games last season, but he led Dartmouth with eight goals and picked up First Team All-Ivy League honors. Top Drawer Soccer ranked Ikoba as the 71st best player in the country. Dartmouth has also won the Ivy League title the past four seasons.

Stout Defense

One of the main reasons why Dartmouth and UConn are in the top 25 is because of defensive play.

Even though UConn has only played two games and IU will be the first game of the season for Dartmouth, both teams will prove to be difficult for the Hoosiers to score against. The Huskies only allowed six shots combined in their wins against Lehigh and Niagara.

In 2017, Dartmouth gave up 0.71 shots per game and had 10 shutouts. Sophomore goalkeeper Christopher Palacios was a major reason why Dartmouth had a strong defense last season with 31 saves and a 0.56 goals-against average.

Breath of fresh air

In recent years, the Hoosiers have found success in their past home-opening weekends. Since 2015, IU has outscored opponents 11-3 with a shot differential of 67-29.

In 2017, both Dartmouth and UConn lost in their road matches against Big Ten opponents to begin the season. Last season, IU went undefeated at home and only gave up a goal in five games within the confines of Bill Armstrong Stadium.

After going 1-1 last weekend against then-ranked No. 5 Wake Forest and No. 3 North Carolina, these next two games against Dartmouth and UConn provide IU the opportunity to pick up a pair of quality wins before playing three of the next four games on the road.

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