As the red smoke spread through the air, fans pounded the crimson and cream wall on the north side of Jerry Yeagley Field.
It had to happen at some point. Being a second-half team that wins in overtime would not be the only story for No. 4 IU men’s soccer this season.
IU entered Friday’s match against the University of Wisconsin on a string of five consecutive games with no first-half scoring. That all changed in the 10th minute against Wisconsin on Friday.
“We wanted to get on the front foot and be the dominant team in the game,” freshman forward Victor Bezerra said. “That was the idea, to go straight in, work harder than them, want it more and get a goal off as soon as we could.”
Freshman forward Herbert Endeley, who made his first start of the season, penetrated through the Badger defense and drew a foul in the penalty box.
With the opportunity to go up 1-0, IU head coach Todd Yeagley chose Bezerra to take the penalty kick.
“Victor has been preparing for the penalties and in this particular game we thought he was the right guy for that, and he went up with confidence,” Yeagley said.
Bezerra blasted the ball past Wisconsin’s senior goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy to give the Hoosiers their only first-half goal of 2019.
Being a newer player on the team, Bezerra said he was grateful for Yeagley’s faith in him to put IU up early.
“It shows that he has confidence in my ability,” Bezerra said. “I’m grateful for that, and I’m grateful for my teammates allowing me to take that penalty.”
The freshman’s goal was his first since Sept. 2, in IU’s 2-1 overtime victory against the University of California at Los Angeles. It was also a launch pad for the Hoosier offense to continue dominating.
The Hoosiers outshot the Badgers 6-1 and had five corner kick opportunities to set up plays in that first half.
A late second-half Wisconsin goal by sophomore forward Matthew Comiskey did anything but deter IU’s offense from propelling forward.
“To our guys’ credit, they didn’t get rattled after giving up the lead,” Yeagley said. “I was very pleased with our guys in their response, that was a tough one.”
Yeagley’s offense produced nine additional shots in the second half that led to two goals within 12 minutes.
Freshman midfielder Aidan Morris set up solid shot opportunities with his short-range corner kicks and serviced fellow freshman defender Daniel Munie for the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute.
Following a big time clear out by sophomore defender Jack Maher, freshman forward Maouloune Goumballe took the ball unassisted for a right cross goal into the bottom left corner of the net.
The Hoosiers took down the Badgers 3-1 and have now won nine straight regular season games against Big Ten opponents.
IU stands 4-0-2 on the season and is 1-0 in Big Ten play. With this being the first game that ended in regulation and the first with three goals, Yeagley said the team treated him well on his 47th birthday.
“It was nice to get a regulation win, and I told the guys it was a great birthday present today,” Yeagley said.
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