After failing to score a goal in the last two games, Indiana men’s soccer switched things up and saw the results against Butler University on Tuesday night in a 1-0 victory.
Instead of the usual 4-4-2, Yeagley built the team in a 4-2-3-1 with senior forward Maouloune Goumballe on the right wing and junior forward Sam Sarver as the sole striker. Besides the tactical changes, Yeagley also opted to start sophomore forward Luka Bezerra instead of junior forward Tommy Mihalic.
“I thought Maouloune was good wide,” Yeagley said in a post-game interview. “He needed a little bit of a reset.”
The results were almost instantaneous.
Just three minutes into the game, Bezerra fired a shot from inside the box with his weak foot that went just wide and, five minutes later, freshman forward Collins Oduro had his shot deflected from inside the box.
At the 10-minute mark, the Hoosiers broke through. Oduro beat the defender on the left and crossed a low ball for Sarver to tap it in all alone inside the six-yard box – the same play that Sarver missed against Wisconsin on Sept. 15.
“Obviously I got unlucky against Wisconsin,” Sarver said after the game. “I told [Oduro] to beat that kid and just play that same exact ball and I’ll be there again.”
Bezerra had a couple of chances to improve the lead after the goal – first with a shot that forced senior goalkeeper Caleb Norris to make a kicking save, and then with a powerful shot from outside the box that went just over the bar.
“The first half was more complete,” Yeagley said. “Although we had a few more dangerous chances in the second half.”
Back for the second half, Bezerra shot from the top of the box, but it was deflected to the left with 31 minutes left in the game.
“Luka did a nice job,” Yeagley said. “He got some key opportunities and gave us a little more composure.”
With 27 minutes left, the Bulldogs had their first dangerous play of the game when junior forward Henri Kumwenda made a quick turnaround and shot straight into senior goalkeeper JT Harms’ hands.
But, three minutes later, the Hoosiers responded with a header by senior forward Karsen Henderlong that grazed the left post.
Indiana kept looking for opportunities and, in a counterattack ten minutes later, Oduro fired an arching shot from the top left corner of the box that hit the right post.
With six minutes to go in the game, freshman defender Alex Barger also fired a curveball from the right side of the field that forced Norris to make a difficult diving save.
In the dying seconds, Oduro slipped through four defenders and passed the ball to Mihalic inside the box all alone, but his shot was improbably deflected over the bar.
“It’s really trying to get them on the counter late when they’re getting numbers forward,” Yeagley said. “The second goal was on its way.”
The offensive chances poured in for the Hoosiers with the tactical changes, and the result does not reflect the field tilt. Indiana fired seven shots on goal in 16 attempts and had eight corners, while Butler had just one shot on goal in seven attempts.
The Hoosiers now look ahead to their first Big Ten away game against Michigan State. The match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at DeMartin Stadium and will be streamed live on Big Ten+.
“It’s nice to get a good result before we go for our second Big Ten game,” Yeagley said. “[Wins] are hard to come by.”