No. 23 Indiana men’s soccer opened its conference slate with a scoreless draw to Wisconsin at Bill Armstrong Stadium on Friday night.
The match was tightly contested for most of the night with neither team creating chances to score. There was a quicker tempo to the game in the last 15 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to break the tie.
Here are some takeaways from an otherwise uneventful match against the Badgers:
Indiana has depth
Senior defender Jansen Miller made his first start of the season, replacing senior defender Hugo Bacharach in the starting lineup. Head coach Todd Yeagley said Bacharach’s absence was not injury-related, and it was more about giving him a rest.
“Hugo’s worn out a little bit, and the season’s got to him,” Yeagley said.
Miller stepped in and played the full 90 minutes as Indiana achieved its third clean sheet of the season. The Ballwin, Missouri, native was dominant in the air and made many clearances throughout the match.
“He did a good job,” Yeagley said. “Jansen came in very ready; he had a great summer and has been performing well in training.”
Senior midfielder Quineten Helmer didn’t start the match but came off the bench and created a couple of chances. Helmer had a more advanced role in the midfield, instantly making a few passes that led to shots in Wisconsin’s box.
“He has a sophistication to him, personality and swagger,” Yeagley said. “We got him into the front line and wanted him closer to goal.”
Indiana’s offensive struggles
The Hoosiers failed to score a goal for the second match in a row, bringing their total to just four goals in six matches this season.
In previous matches, the struggles have been more about missed opportunities than failing to create them.
“Good defensively but stale offensively,” Yeagley said. “Tonight we didn’t create enough, and we’re still missing the frame which is disappointing.”
Yeagley said there was a lot of positional movement along the front line as he is still searching for the right combination in the attack.
While Indiana settled for a draw in its conference opener, the Hoosiers will look for an improved offensive performance against Butler University on Sept. 19. The Hoosiers have shown their ability to keep their net clean but are struggling to score the goals to win these close matches.
The Hoosiers will have a chance to avoid a three-game goal drought when they face off against Butler at 7:30 p.m. at Bill Armstrong Stadium.