Trailing 1-0 through 45 minutes against Michigan State on Monday, No. 23 IU men’s soccer was searching for some firepower. The Spartans had controlled the pace in the first half, leading the Hoosiers in all major categories.
Fifteen minutes into the second frame, Big Ten goals leader Victor Bezerra provided a spark.
The sophomore rifled a ground strike from outside the box past Michigan State goalkeeper Isiah Handspike to square the match at 1-1. The Hoosiers’ bench erupted and circled Bezerra after he scored his fifth goal of the season to knot it up.
“We knew we were going to find one,” sophomore defender Daniel Munie said. “Victor found one, and we were able to keep the pressure on.”
Bezerra’s score provided a noticeable boost for the Hoosiers that escalated their momentum. In the 88th minute, the Hoosiers secured the three points after success with a long set piece.
Munie ricocheted a one-bounce free kick from senior defender Spencer Glass into the back of the net to take the lead. The slick field allowed the ball to sneak past Michigan State defenders into Munie’s shin for the score.
“I was able to get a flick on it, and the rest was history,” Munie said.
That goal was the difference as IU defeated Michigan State 2-1 in its first game at Bill Armstrong Stadium this season. The match was pushed back three hours due to rain in Bloomington.
Despite a strong ending, IU’s offense looked a bit sluggish to start the match. The Spartans were strong defensively, but missed passes once again plagued the Hoosiers early on.
In their last four games, the Hoosiers have only tallied one goal in the opening half, including none today.
“We didn’t start the game bright with our movement offensively,” head coach Todd Yeagley said.
Michigan State’s Luke Morrell buried a corner header past sophomore goalkeeper Roman Celetano to give the Spartans a 1-0 advantage 24 minutes into the game.
In the second half, IU came out with a visible toughness that was absent in the beginning. Aggressive contests to 50/50 balls increased from both the attack and defense which resulted in a physical game that favored the Hoosiers.
They were in control of the ball for the majority of the second half while also out-shooting the Spartans 5-2 in the final 45 minutes.
In their first come-from-behind victory of the season, Yeagley said he was proud of the team’s second-half response.
“To come back in a bit of a dogfight when we had to play better, tougher and just with more swag, I really like that,” Yeagley said.
The Hoosiers improve to 4-1-0 on the season and are tied atop of the Big Ten standings. IU’s next match is 1 p.m. Friday on the road against Rutgers.
Even with 12 early-season points, Munie and the team know there are still improvements to be made.
“We still haven’t even reached our full potential,” Munie said. “We still have a lot to prove.”