IU men’s soccer coach Todd Yeagley had very few positives to talk about after the first half of Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Ohio State.
Any high notes he could take came on the back of his defense.
“They were pretty darn good all game,” Yeagley said. “We say that a lot. We can always hang our hat on our defending.”
The Hoosiers’ second shutout victory of the season started slow and finished fast, with all three goals coming in the second half.
IU relied on its defense to prevent chances and keep the game scoreless until its offense came alive.
Yeagley said the defensive fundamentals weren’t there early, but its principles were.
“Our help was good all game,” Yeagley said. “That’s positive. That got us through the period, quite honestly.”
IU’s defense proved strong enough that even when Ohio State created opportunities on net, the shots were weak and underwhelming. Sophomore goalkeeper Roman Celentano’s first two saves required little more from him than an easy stop to a rolling ball.
When the Buckeyes created a genuine chance, it was swallowed up by the Hoosiers as fast as it appeared.
One chance saw an Ohio State player roll the ball back to create an opening, but IU’s defense didn’t allow him to ever get back to the ball before it rolled out of bounds.
Ohio State only had one shot on goal in the second half and three on the game. Celentano had only one save that forced him to move.
The best scoring opportunity for the Buckeyes came in the 78th minute on a cross. Ohio State freshman Thomas Gilej had a header that forced Celentano to dive, but the shot was just wide of the net.
Those same defenders have helped spark the offense for IU as well. The first goal came off a cross from senior defender Spencer Glass that found sophomore defender Daniel Munie near the front of the net where Munie broke the scoreless tie.
“The serve’s got to be there, so it’s all really on Spencer to start,” Yeagley said. “It’s just executing and getting into good spots and that’s what Munie was able to do.”
The second goal began with Glass making a run down the left side before sending in a cross that led to sophomore Victor Bezerra scoring on a penalty.
After Bezerra scored his third and fourth goals of the season to put IU ahead multiple scores, the game became even more defensive for IU.
Similarly to IU’s victory over Wisconsin on Friday, the defense became tougher with the lead to prevent counterattack opportunities for Ohio State.
Glass stepped up on his side of the pitch, preventing anything on the left side from advancing near the box.
All four of IU’s defenders played 90 minutes.
In IU’s last eight games since it played Ohio State on Oct. 26, 2019, IU has only allowed one goal. It came in its loss to University of California at Santa Barbara in the NCAA tournament on Dec. 1, 2019.
Celentano’s second shutout of the season was the 10th of his career in 16 career starts.