For the first time this season, Indiana’s defense looked bleak, but senior goalkeeper JT Harms saved the Hoosiers from a multi-goal defeat.
In the 1-0 loss to the University of South Florida, Indiana suffered with the Bulls’ counters, often caught exposed in the back and giving them too much space.
The Hoosiers opted for the traditional 4-4-2 formation and high pressing, which left sophomore midfielder Jack Wagoner and junior midfielder Patrick McDonald overwhelmed when the Bulls had the counterattack.
With speed and the numeric advantage, South Florida generated very acute plays off long vertical passes behind the defenders.
Just ten minutes into the game, senior defender Hugo Bacharach had to make a perfect sliding tackle to prevent South Florida junior midfielder Shion Soga from getting a prime chance inside the 18-yard box after a pass in between Bacharach and senior defender Joey Maher.
Just a minute later, a diagonal cross found graduate student forward Jalen Anderson alone inside the 6-yard box, forcing Harms to make his first difficult save of the night.
His second hard save came just six minutes later when graduate student forward Max Wilkins fired from outside the box at the low right corner. Following this play, Harms denied a one-on-one against junior forward Oscar Resano inside the box.
Meanwhile, Indiana had possession of the ball but did not bring any danger to sophomore goalkeeper Alan Horrocks. The Bulls were compact and did not allow any space in between the lines for the Hoosiers to work with.
In a fast counterattack led by senior midfielder Ajmeer Spengler, Bacharach was caught in a two-on-one, and Spengler passed to Anderson inside the box for an easy tap in with 19 minutes left in the first half.
The Bulls fired seven total shots — five on goal — in the first half, and the Hoosiers had only four total shots, with two of those being on goal.
In the second half, South Florida adopted a defensive style of play, having its lines very low on the field.
Just two minutes in, junior forward Tommy Mihalic shot a low ball on the right that went just wide to the left, the first real chance for the Hoosiers in the game.
But Indiana did not create momentum. Just like in the first half, the Hoosiers had the possession but couldn’t transform it into chances.
In an uneventful second half, Harms found himself once again alone against Anderson with 23 minutes to go in the game, and again he denied the South Florida attacker.
Harms amounted to a career-high seven saves, and the Hoosiers were limited to just four shots on goal in the whole game.