Indiana men’s soccer recorded its seventh consecutive clean sheet Wednesday night in its controlling 4-0 win over Virginia Commonwealth University. Indiana finishes with an 8-3-0 record at home with VCU its final opponent at Bill Armstrong Stadium this season.
“It was a really sharp performance from the whole group,” head coach Todd Yeagley said. “To give a team of VCU’s quality not many dangerous attacks says a lot.”
Pressure from the Hoosier offense began immediately, with junior forward Victor Bezerra notching the first goal of the night in the third minute off a pass from freshman forward Samuel Sarver. The play set the tone for the match and Sarver continued to lead the offense for the remainder of the night.
“Sammy is a tireless worker,” Yeagley said. “That was one of the reasons we inserted him tonight, because we knew he could create a lot of havoc in that press.”
Sarver put up two of Indiana's four goals. His first came out of a sailing pass from senior Spencer Glass in the 11th minute. Sarver, positioned almost inside the goal, got control of the pass after it bounced off VCU freshman goalkeeper John Ermini and knocked it in for his fifth goal of the season.
Sarver’s second goal came quickly in the 52nd minute, as he cleanly sent a pass from junior forward Herbert Endeley into the top left of the goal. Sarver now leads the team with six goals on the season.
“Not playing our up-and-down balls and having Sammy fight for it with the big guys in the back,” senior defender Spencer Glass said in reference to the Hoosiers’ gameplan. “We were trying to play more tactical and go around the outside, which showed for the first two goals.”
Endeley got another assist when junior forward Ryan Wittenbrink put Indiana up 4-0 five minutes after Sarver’s goal. Endeley led Indiana with two of the team’s total of five assists on the night, marking the second most assists in one game for the Hoosiers this season.
Indiana’s offense controlled the pace of the game, maintaining possession throughout and keeping play centered around the VCU goal. Consequently, VCU’s offense was shut down, getting its only shot of the match in the 49th minute.
“I thought we were really good about reading spaces, reading cues, reading the pressure lines,” Yeagley said. “I thought that was the big difference when they did finally play forward. We were really in a good spot.”
The Hoosiers saw 10 players come in off the bench, including Endeley, Wittenbrink and junior goalkeeper Bryant Pratt. Pratt, in his second appearance of the season, was barely needed as the Hoosier offense continued to run with the ball until the 90th minute.
Indiana finished with 20 shots and seven shots on goal, with five shots courtesy of Bezerra. Sarver led the team with two shots on goal. Yeagley saw the high amount of shots as a positive since they showed an increase in fine-tuned attacks, he said.
“It wasn’t just like four [goals] and we got five chances,” Yeagley said. “There’s been games like that, where you’re kind of clinical in your chances. There were a lot of good chances for us tonight.”
Indiana closes out its season against Maryland at 1 p.m. Sunday in College Park, Maryland. The match is at the same time as the game between Penn State and Wisconsin. The results of those two games will determine the Big Ten regular season champion.