Indiana Daily Student

Indiana men’s soccer’s defense shines in shutout win after early season struggles

<p>Then-junior defender Daniel Munie challenges the opposing defender in the air on Sept. 17, 2021, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Indiana won Tuesday&#x27;s match 1-0 against St. John&#x27;s University.</p>

Then-junior defender Daniel Munie challenges the opposing defender in the air on Sept. 17, 2021, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Indiana won Tuesday's match 1-0 against St. John's University.

Indiana men’s soccer began its season under less–than ideal circumstances. After a 3-2 loss against No. 1 Clemson University away from home, the Hoosiers returned to Bloomington and struggled defensively in a tight and emotional, yet winnable 3-3 draw with the University of Portland.  

Then, due to inclement weather on Saturday, the Hoosiers’ home showdown with the University of Notre Dame was postponed to a yet to be determined date. Coming off nearly a full week’s rest, Indiana returned to its 2021 defensive form Tuesday night at home and notched a much-needed first win of the season against the St. John’s University Red Storm.  

Throughout the Hoosiers’ first two matches, the normally daunting backline was not necessarily a liability, but was certainly not meeting its usual standards. After conceding six total goals against Clemson and Portland, head coach Todd Yeagley mentioned the need for play to be tightened up in their own half.  

With a relieving victory over the Red Storm, though, Yeagley commended his team for staying composed and executing adjustments.  

“This team is more flexible in systems than we’ve had in the past,” Yeagley said post-match. “I thought our shape in the first half was really causing problems. In the second half, our ability to adjust back and not panic was no problem.”  

[Related: Indiana men’s soccer secures first win this season with Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over St. John’s]

Against Clemson and Portland, the Hoosiers were plagued by a few key mistakes in the midfield which the backline could not salvage. On Tuesday, however, even when a pass went awry around midfield, the center back trio of junior Joey Maher, redshirt senior Daniel Munie and fifth year senior Nyk Sessock was able to recover in a timely manner to fend off the attack.  

With around 15 minutes left in the first half, St. John’s had a couple threatening chances led by senior forward Adrian Roseth. On the first, Munie brilliantly stopped a three-man attack from the Red Storm, and on the second, Sessock knocked the ball away from Roseth into the waiting gloves of redshirt senior goalkeeper Bryant Pratt.  

However, for roughly the last 25 minutes of the second half, the Hoosiers were on their heels partially due to playing its backline deeper than normal. St. John’s was relentlessly attacking and peppering Pratt and Harms in goal, and nine of their 11 total shots came in the second half.  

Yeagley attributed this to the fatigue of his defenders.  

“They were finding some open gaps and our backline was a little fatigued tonight,” Yeagley said. “First half we pressured pretty high so we just dropped it and played from there.”  

After the match, Yeagley said he thought his squad’s passing was crisp and their ideas were inventive. There are still areas with inconsistencies that Yeagley mentioned needed cleaning up, but after the Hoosiers’ gritty performance on Tuesday, he was pleased with a win.  

“The locker room needed that, because the Portland game felt like a loss,” Yeagley said. “The three points was critical. We needed to just feel a good win.” 

The Hoosiers will stay at home to take on the University of Akron on Friday, Sept. 9 at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The match will be broadcast on B1G+.

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