Headed into halftime Tuesday, a defensive battle between No. 7 IU men’s soccer and Ohio State was deadlocked at 0-0.
“Quite honestly, a throwaway half in my opinion,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “We don’t want to see that again.”
Both teams played fairly even with scoring chances hard to come by. The Hoosiers’ best opportunity came within the first two minutes of action when senior forward Thomas Warr barely sailed a header over the Ohio State net.
Besides that, nothing was working for the IU attack. That was, however, until a second half burst lifted IU over Ohio State for a 3-0 win in Westfield, Indiana.
Three minutes into the second frame, things started to shift. Sophomore defender Daniel Munie finished a well-executed corner kick to break the tie. From there, the Hoosiers seemed more willing to push the pace and executed two more opportunities.
“Although we haven’t put a full performance together yet, I’m obviously pleased we got three points,” Yeagley said.
The Buckeyes, who finished 1-6-1 in Big Ten play last season, equaled almost all of the Hoosiers’ stats in the first half. Both sides were scoreless, IU shot it once more but Ohio State was awarded the half’s only corner kick.
After defeating Wisconsin 3-0 on Friday, Yeagley was disappointed with the lack of physicality.
“It wasn’t the IU toughness that we’re really proud of,” Yeagley said.
As the action turned up-tempo and the ball movement quickened in the second half, opportunities opened up for IU’s top weapons.
With 30 minutes remaining, a timely run and cross inside by senior defender Spencer Glass forced Ohio State to foul sophomore forward Victor Bezerra inside the box.
Bezerra, who was named College Soccer News National Player of the Week after his two goals in the opener, buried the penalty kick to extend the IU lead. With eight minutes remaining, Bezerra sniped in a free kick from just outside the box to put the match away.
“He’s one of the best clinical finishers I’ve coached,” Yeagley said of Bezerra.
IU’s toughness from both its offensive and defensive units were lackluster in the first half. IU’s inability to control possession for the majority of the opening frame limited its scoring chances while allowing Ohio State to create its own.
Even with many steps to take before they are playing their best soccer, Yeagley realizes that every win is important for IU in its shortened season.
“It’s a good thing that this team has this resilience and ability to get through a game that we’re not playing our best,” Yeagley said.
After Tuesday’s victory, the Hoosiers are 2-0 this season. IU’s next match is Saturday afternoon when it travels to Evanston, Illinois, to take on Northwestern.