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Squad rotation highlights Indiana men’s soccer’s win against Evansville

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Preparation for the 2024 season is underway as Indiana men’s soccer faced the University of Evansville in an exhibition match Saturday. 

The Hoosiers lost some key players in the offseason such as defenders Hugo Bacharach, Joey Maher and Brett Bebej. They also lost forwards Maoloune Goumballe and Karsen Henderlong. Bacharach was drafted in the MLS SuperDraft while Maher transferred to Saint Louis University. Bebej, Goumballe and Henderlong graduated. 

Saturday presented an opportunity for multiple players to get significant minutes in Indiana’s first game of the spring slate.  

Sophomore defender Quinton Elliot, who recently transferred from the University of Louisville played his first game as a Hoosier. Elliot saw significant minutes in the match, lining up as a wing-back on both sides of Indiana’s backline throughout. 

“He can play on both [sides],” Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said postmatch. “We wanted to keep him on the right today but as soon as Barger went down, we moved him left.”  

Yeagley explained Elliot playing on the left Saturday was out of need, and the plan is for him to stay on the right side. 

Freshman defender Luke Reidell and freshman midfielder EJ Dreher also participated in the match after not seeing any action in the fall. Yeagley said he liked what he saw from the freshmen. 

“[Dreher is] a kid from up in the region that just kind of keeps getting better,” Yeagley said. “For his first real minutes, I thought he looked like a really mature player for being a redshirt freshman.” 

Reidell also saw some of his first bit of action, lining up as a wing-back throughout the match. 

“Reidell showed some really good things at times, Luke had a good showing,” Yeagley said. 

Yeagley tinkered with different formations throughout the match, alternating between a three-back formation and the 4-4-2 he primarily used last season. Yeagley also mixed in new faces along with experienced starters throughout the match.  

“Definitely a little bit of a mix,” Yeagley said. “Tough to experiment too much, then you’re not sure where it could’ve gone right or wrong. You noticed kind of a couple kind of anchoring players in at different times.” 

The Hoosiers had multiple goal-scoring chances throughout the match but struggled to finish them off. Indiana broke through with just two minutes left to play, after junior forward Tommy Mihalic slotted home a shot inside the 18-yard box. 

Indiana will continue its spring slate against Saint Louis University at 5 p.m, March 2, at the Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, Indiana.

Follow reporters Leo Paes (@Leordpaes) and Jovanni Salazar (@jio_duz_it) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s soccer season.

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