IU to face Aces in nonconference finale
Following the Hoosiers’ first conference loss Friday, IU will play its last nonconference opponent tonight at Bill Armstrong Stadium, facing its annual matchup with Evansville.
Ex-Purple Ace and current Hoosier Drew Schall said it’s definitely a big game and added, “I do want to win.”
The Hoosiers have defeated the Purple Aces 10 consecutive times and in 13 of the last 14 matchups.
IU’s last loss against Evansville was a 1-0 decision on Nov. 25, 1990, in the NCAA Tournament.
Since starting at left back against Clemson Aug. 31, sophomore defender Patrick Doody has started 12 of the 13 matches in which he’s played.
Schall started Aug. 24 at St. Louis and Sept. 26 against Notre Dame.
Despite having less playing time, Schall said he has no regrets about transferring.
“I saw an opportunity and wanted to take it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a regret at all. It was all up to me. I’m an adult. I made an adult decision, and I’m happy with it. I think it’s good that I can come in and hopefully give (Doody) some competition. That’s what this program is built around — people who want to come in and compete for spots. We’re Hoosiers.”
The Hoosiers lead the Big Ten with 63 offside violations.
Wisconsin and Michigan State are tied at second with 30.
IU Coach Todd Yeagley said it would be disappointing if the Hoosiers were lower on that list.
“We’ve been offsides a few too many (times) that were more in our control,” he said. “I like that we’re looking to get behind. That’s a stat that if we’re last in the conference, that means you’re not aggressive enough.”
With three regular season matches remaining, junior midfielder Nikita Kotlov said a big focus is perfecting their timing.
“In the Michigan game, we had a few instances where we were caught offsides,” he said. “I think we would have created a few more chances and maybe got a couple more goals if we’d have timed our runs better.”
Yeagley agreed, saying they looked at, in particular, how to improve timing to stay onside more effectively.
That 13 Hoosier players saw the pitch against the Wolverines should not be a cause for concern, Yeagley said.
“We have a pretty good feel now of what different players can bring,” he said. “If the game is going well, we don’t like to make changes to make changes. I thought our team was doing some good things, creating great chances. To change it just because we have another good player to play can throw off rhythm.”
Kotlov said the Hoosiers created about eight great chances in the box against Michigan. IU was just unlucky and consequently unable to overcome the first two goals scored against them in conference play.
Penn State’s upset win at No. 24 Northwestern Sunday ensured that the regular season Big Ten champ will not be unbeaten.
Kotlov said each game means that much more, since only six matches per team decide who earns the bye in the conference tournament.
The Hoosiers capturing the top spot to win their 15th regular season championship remains a plausible possibility.
“We’re in a good position to win it,” Kotlov said.
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