Todd Yeagley looks back on preseason opener

Soccer coach Todd Yeagley takes a look back at the first preseason game with Marquette and talks about how his strategy may be a little different Saturday night against North Carolina.

Indiana soccer opened preseason play Thursday night with a 3-3 tie against No. 12 Marquette. The top-ranked Hoosiers, however, had a commanding 3-1 edge at halftime before head coach Todd Yeagley took his starters out.

The Hoosiers went with a starting lineup of sophomore Michael Soderlund in goal, junior Patrick Doody, freshman Billy McConnell, junior Kerel Bradford and senior Matt McKain in the back. The midfield was made up of junior Dylan Mares, senior Harrison Petts, senior Nikita Kotlov, senior A.J. Corrado and senior Jacob Bushue, with freshman Tommy Thompson up top.

In the first half, IU had a 17-3 advantage in shots on goal. Mares led the way with five shot attempts. spoke with coach Yeagley Friday to get his impressions of the first match. Here's that exclusive content for premium members.

What were your overall impressions of your preseason opener?

"We were pretty pleased,'' Yeagley said. "I've seen a lot of first games in the preseason where we didn't do a lot, where we were just too sluggish. They were motivated to go out and play another team and honestly play a match. That being said that first half, with our starting group, was really good. We weren't as sharp as we could have been, which is a good thing, but I thought we created a lot of opportunities on offense and we defended effectively.

"To be up 3-1 at halftime against a really good team that returned a lot of pieces, I'll just say I was pleased with that.''

What about the second half?

"Putting 11 new players on you're really not sure what it's going to look like,'' Yeagley said. "Give them the credit. They handled their chances. We gave up a tough PK. So it wasn't a great second half, but the guys that we expected to show well, and to put their mark on it, many of them did that. So it's really important that they continue to push the first group.''

Do you have the same strategy in mind for the second preseason game (Saturday against No. 14 North Carolina in Fort Wayne) as you did with the first? Do you play the starters about the same amount of time or do you let them go a little farther into the second half as you get ready to open the season next week?

"This one we'll play the starting group a lot more similar to what we will do next weekend,'' Yeagley said. "This time it will look a lot more like it will look in the regular season. There won't be a full team turnover at halftime. We might bring one or two players in that we'll use to substitute in those areas back just to see again where our depth is against a really good team with a great atmosphere.

"So that's where we would be different. On Friday we won't make those changes unless there's a reason to make them. But we're always looking to see how we can do in the ‘what if's?'. And how we manage the game. Experiment with how we handle situations if we're down or whatever the case may be. But this game will be a lot different. This one will be a lot more like a regular season game.''

Can you talk about the play of your goalkeepers in the opener?

"We were pleased,'' Yeagley said. "I think we have a nice group. The two that we're playing right now don't have a lot of IU experience. Mike (Soderlund) had a really good pool of games this summer in the summer league and was phenomenal in the match we had against Mexico so he's riding with a lot of confidence. And the young man from San Diego, Colin Webb, is a nice player. He's confident. Right now we like where this position is. Right now Mike is in our top spot and we want to give him a ton of confidence.''

Indiana will close out the preseason on Saturday as it faces No. 4 North Carolina to close out the Shindigz National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind. It was the Hoosiers who put an end to the Tar Heels' season in 2012 with a 1-0 victory in the NCAA quarterfinals in Chapel Hill. The match will begin at 7 p.m.

Check back at Saturday night for a recap of IU's final preseason tuneup. The Hoosiers open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 30 at home against SMU.

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