For the second time in two games, No. 2 IU gave its fans their money’s worth following another double-overtime game-winning shot, this time courtesy of sophomore defender Jack Maher.
One of the most historic rivalries in collegiate soccer took center stage on Monday afternoon as IU squeaked out a 2-1 victory over the University of California, Los Angeles, in a 103-minute marathon thriller that capped off the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic.
For Maher, the goal was the first of his young collegiate career.
After a low pass from IU junior midfielder Spencer Glass ricocheted off IU freshman defender Daniel Munie, Maher found the loose ball on the right goal post and sent it to the back of the net for the win.
“Words can’t really describe what it’s like to get your first collegiate goal,” Maher said.
IU trailed 1-0 following UCLA midfielder Marcony Pimentel’s goal in the 52nd-minute. A poorly played ball from IU senior goalkeeper Sean Caulfield allowed the Bruins to capitalize in what was a tightly contested game up to that point.
The Hoosiers faced a 2-0 deficit Friday night before going on to defeat the University of Pittsburgh 3-2 in double-overtime, regained their composure and were able to stop the bleeding before the Bruins could mount any momentum.
“This team has a lot of grit,” Maher said. “It’s something you’d expect from an Indiana University soccer team, but now we’ve seen it, we’ve shown it.”
In the 57th-minute IU freshman forward Victor Bezerra found himself in the right place at the right time as he corralled a loose ball that had deflected off a UCLA defender before netting the equalizing goal.
Many questioned what IU’s team chemistry would look like after bringing in 14 new recruits, but this weekend proved that the freshman class is ready to contribute already.
IU freshman forward Joshua Penn, who was pretty much everywhere on the offensive side of the ball, totaled a game-high six shots with three shots on goal. Though Penn couldn’t find the back of the net, his aggression and playmaking allowed for IU’s other front line players to create more space off the ball.
“It’s the mental toughness,” Glass said. “You can never count us out of the game.”
After tying the game at one apiece, both teams squandered multiple scoring chances late in the second half with solid goalie and defensive play paying major dividends.
Once again, the full 90 minutes proved not enough in deciding a winner on Monday forcing the Hoosiers to dig deep and escape Bloomington with a victory. And IU did just that, thanks to Maher’s quick thinking and quicker right foot.
With the first two games now in the rearview mirror, the Hoosiers move to 2-0 on the season with a trip to South Bend, Indiana looming next weekend.
There were many questions that needed answering prior to IU opening regular season play. All the questions weren’t quite answered but IU at least showed it has the offensive firepower to remain in games when trailing.
“We have to stay composed and stay on track,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “And we executed that today.”
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