Two evenly matched teams with winning streaks on the line square off Wednesday at Jerry Yeagley Field. No. 8 IU men’s soccer takes on the University of Kentucky, who will try to win in Bloomington for the first time since 1995.
IU stands at 7-1-2 and dominated conference rival Penn State 3-1 in its last match. Likewise, Kentucky enters at 6-1-2 off its recent 1-0 win against East Tennessee State University.
With much riding on this 7 p.m. matchup, here are three things to help contextualize Wednesday.
Both teams have streaks to defend
Kentucky defeated IU 3-0 last season and is looking to win back-to-back games against the Hoosiers for the first time ever.
Ahead of Wednesday, Kentucky owns a four-game winning streak and is also 3-0 in its last three regular season games against Big Ten opponents.
IU’s winning streak was bumped up to three following its victory against Penn State. The Hoosiers also have an 11-game winning streak in Bloomington against the Wildcats and have won as many as 10 consecutive games in their history with Kentucky.
In its last 31 games at Jerry Yeagley Field, IU remains unbeaten and will look to keep it that way for the foreseeable future.
Wildcats have lockdown defense
Kentucky has not surrendered a goal during this four-game winning streak.
Junior goalkeeper Enrique Facusse has 23 saves and five shutouts this season. Six of his nine starts have a save percentage of 80 percent or better,and three of his games featured four saves in each.
His defenders are also key reasons why Kentucky has been successful in recent games.
Junior defender Aime Makiba, who was named First Team All-Southeast Region last season, has been proactive in clearing balls out of the goal box while also scoring two goals on the season.
Lineup Changes and Fresh Faces
IU head coach Todd Yeagley has been altering his lineup in recent games.
In the last two games, Yeagley started freshman Roman Celentano at goalkeeper in place of senior Sean Caulfied. Freshman defender Daniel Munie is now also starting in place of senior defender Jordan Kleyn.
Yeagley also allowed senior midfielder Joris Ahlinvi to make his season debut against Penn State. The transfer from Florida International University took four shots and scored his first goal as an IU player.
Junior forward Ian Black returned from injury against the Nittany Lions, playing a limited amount of minutes. Although the forward was quiet during his return, he is one of IU’s leading goal scorers and will be a vital piece for the team if he plays Wednesday.
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