Indiana Daily Student

No. 11 Indiana men’s soccer opens Big Ten slate Friday against Rutgers

<p>Sophomore defender Lukas Hummel attempts to dribble past a Butler University player during IU men&#x27;s soccer&#x27;s home opener on Aug. 31, 2021, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Indiana will play Rutgers at 8 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2021, in Bloomington. </p>

Sophomore defender Lukas Hummel attempts to dribble past a Butler University player during IU men's soccer's home opener on Aug. 31, 2021, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Indiana will play Rutgers at 8 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2021, in Bloomington.

No. 11 Indiana men’s soccer will open its Big Ten schedule against Rutgers at 8 p.m. Friday at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington. Indiana is 3-1-1 and coming off an overtime draw against the No. 7 University of Akron last Friday on the road.

After a number of players missed games early in the season with injury — including MAC Hermann Trophy runner-up Victor Bezerra — Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said the team’s game against Akron was the most complete performance they’ve had all year. 

“We liked the way we played our last game against Akron,” junior defender Daniel Munie said at a press conference Thursday. “I think that’s one of the best games we’ve played this year.” 

Munie scored Indiana’s lone goal against Akron and helped hold off its high-powered offense. Despite scoring 14 goals in its first four matches this season, Indiana held Akron to just one goal on 16 shots and four on goal. In turn, Munie was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday. 

“It’s definitely an honor,” Munie said. “I mean, I can’t do it without my teammates, people putting me in the right positions, defense always holding strong — but it’s definitely cool.”

Munie, along with the rest of Indiana’s backline, will look to shut down Rutgers’ offense, which is led by freshman forward Nico Rosamilia, the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. He scored both of Rutgers’ goals against Saint Joseph’s University on Monday. 

The Scarlet Knights come into the game undefeated at 5-0-1, outscoring their opponents 10-3 across six games this season. 

Yeagley said his attackers will need to crash down into the box for second-chance opportunities and force junior goalkeeper Oren Asher to make tough decisions. He pointed to Asher’s athleticism and ability to come out of the box as challenges his attackers will face Friday. 

“The goals won’t come easy against him — he’s a quality keeper,” Yeagley said. 

Led by Asher, the Scarlet Knights put up clean sheets in each of their first four games this season. Asher won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in the first two weeks of the season. 

It’s been a week since the Hoosiers’ last game, and Yeagley said the time off has allowed them to settle into their schedules and get into a better rhythm. 

Indiana’s matchup with Rutgers will be the first of its eight-game Big Ten slate. Last year, Indiana finished first in the Big Ten with a 7-1-0 record in conference play and won the conference tournament, while Rutgers finished fifth with a 4-4-0 record.

The Hoosiers have taken both the Big Ten regular-season title and won the Big Ten Tournament in each of the last three seasons. This preseason, the Hoosiers were also unanimously selected by the Big Ten coaches’ poll to win the conference for the second straight time. 

“No matter how you do, obviously in the nonconference, you’re 0-0 heading into this game so everyone’s got an equal opportunity,” Yeagley said. “The target is obviously on our back as it always is in the Big Ten. We’re going to get everyone’s best, no doubt.” 

Indiana’s game against Rutgers will kickoff at 8 p.m. at Bill Armstrong Stadium and will be broadcast on BTN Plus. Indiana is on a four-match wining streak against Rutgers, including a 3-0 in its last matchup on March 19.

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