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Indiana Daily Student

Munie, Pratt secure Indiana men’s soccer’s 1-0 win over Notre Dame after injury absences

<p>Redshirt senior defender Daniel Munie plays defense against a University of Notre Dame forward Oct. 5, 2022, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Munie has been recovering from a hamstring injury. </p>

Redshirt senior defender Daniel Munie plays defense against a University of Notre Dame forward Oct. 5, 2022, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Munie has been recovering from a hamstring injury.

With a few minutes left in Wednesday’s match between Indiana men’s soccer and the University of Notre Dame, the Hoosiers were hanging tightly onto their one-goal advantage. Notre Dame junior defender Paddy Burns, the team’s top goal scorer, sent a dangerous, in-swinging cross into the 18-yard box.  

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Bryant Pratt burst off his line, leaped into the sea of Hoosier defenders and Irish forwards and punched the ball out of harm’s way. With the save, Indiana all but clinched its 1-0 victory against the in-state foe.

Prior to starting on Wednesday night, Pratt had been sidelined for nearly a month with an elbow injury. In his return to action, he was crucial in securing the Hoosiers’ third clean sheet of the season with one major save.  

Composed of an extremely tall team, both on the backline and on the attack, Notre Dame posed serious threats off crosses and set pieces with the ball in the air. For that reason, head coach Todd Yeagley said he felt Pratt, who has a slight height advantage over fellow goalkeeper junior JT Harms, was better suited to start on Wednesday.  

“We did feel that some of the aerial balls that might be coming in, Pratt’s got a little bit more range with some of his ability to catch,” Yeagley said after the match. “Pratt, in practice, finds ways to make these saves you’re like, ‘where’d that come from.’ We have to kind of see what he can do for this group.” 

[Related: Indiana men’s soccer retains in-state bragging rights with 1-0 win over Notre Dame]

Pratt was not the only player to return to the starting lineup after an extended injury absence. Redshirt senior defender Daniel Munie suffered a hamstring injury against the University of Akron on Sept. 9 and missed the ensuing four matches.  

After playing the second half against Michigan on Sunday, Munie, Yeagley and the team’s doctor agreed he could test his fitness against Notre Dame and potentially play a full 90 minutes. He did just that on Wednesday night, returning to his center back position and anchoring a backline that surrendered just one shot on goal.  

In Munie’s absence, the Hoosiers’ backline held up, but was shy of the swarming and highly disciplined group that shut out Notre Dame. Redshirt senior forward Ryan Wittenbrink, who scored the lone goal of the match, said Munie’s presence brought a renewed comfort to the team.  

“Obviously it’s awesome to have Munie back, he’s the best defender in the country and I don’t think it’s particularly close,” Wittenbrink said. “It’s a big help. It was a really good defensive performance tonight.” 

Munie said the recovery process was tricky. Especially in the case of hamstring injuries, he said that taking time to fully ensure he was fully healthy was key.  

With a full match under his belt, Munie figures to keep pushing and ramping up his workload. Returning to conference play for the next three matches, his athletic and steady play will be as needed as ever for the Hoosiers to move up in the Big Ten table.  

“I think we all know Munie on the field makes us better,” Yeagley said. “He does so many things. He makes the guy next to him a little more confident. If he doesn’t make a play, Munie can cover for him. He just has a lot of playmaking ability.” 

The tight, defensive-minded win on Wednesday was rather uncharacteristic of the Hoosiers this season. They have grown accustomed to electrifying, attacking performances and scoring goals in bunches, but Munie said that Wednesday’s victory reminded him of Indiana’s 2020 team that appeared in the NCAA National Championship.  

“In the national championship run, we were just winning these 1-0 games, just clawing back,” Munie said. “I think we have a lot of talent. I think we have just as much talent if not more than that national championship team.  

Indiana returns to conference play next, taking on Rutgers at noon on Sunday, Oct. 9. The match will be broadcast on B1G+.  

Follow reporters Kamil Gut (@GutKamil) and Matt Press (@MatthewPress23) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s soccer season. 

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