After falling behind early, the Indiana soccer team recovered for a 2-1 victory over SMU on Friday night.
Up through the first 10 minutes, the Indiana side held a majority of possession, and looked to be the more confident team as it put constant pressure on the ball. All of that seemed to be for naught as sophomore Alfred Koroma put the Mustangs on the board first.
It looked as though the assisting cross would be cleared by IU freshman Billy McConnell, but he misjudged where Koroma was, and allowed the ball to fall to his mark, who trapped the ball to his feet for a quick shot that goalkeeper Michael Soderlund had no chance to handle.
After the goal, SMU looked to keep its 1-0 lead intact by falling back into its own half and not looking to press forward. This allowed the Hoosiers to work their way into the 18-yard box several times, but came out with nothing to show for it.
Head coach Todd Yeagley used his depth in the midfield positions to his advantage, replacing starters with more-than-capable reserves. One of those substitutions, Femi Hollinger-Janzen, came in for Louisville-transfer Dylan Mares, and knotted the score at 1-1 with a looping header over Mustang keeper Jaime Ibarra.
"(Femi) lights up the group, he lights up the crowd," Yeagley said afterward.
This was perhaps an understatement.
After the goal, IU players seemed to have a skip in their step, with passes being crisper and runs having more drive and purpose. This newfound poise carried over into the second half, as SMU struggled to keep the Hoosiers out of its end.
With several corner kicks and brilliant runs of play, Indiana stayed on the offensive, and the Mustangs made no move to push numbers forward, instead opting to stay back and defend. The only question would be when Indiana would drive the nail into the coffin.
With just under 19 minutes remaining in the game, junior Patrick Doody lined up behind A.J. Corrado, who stood over the ball following a foul by SMU. Corrado flicked the ball to Doody, who fired a low scorcher under the wall of defenders that found the back of the net.
"Whoever was gonna hit it was gonna do well with it," Doody said following the match. "I just kept my head low and got a good blow on it. But the buildup [to the free kick] was the team."
After the Hoosiers took the lead, SMU finally decided to come out of its cage and put some midfielders on the attacking side. This all came too late, as the defense for Indiana was ready for them and kept everything from coming close to goal. McConnell redeemed himself in the waning minutes when he stepped in front of Koroma to deny him a chance at an equalizer.
"We waivered around the B range tonight, sometimes dipping lower, sometimes raising the bar. But playing against this top competition tells us where that B lies," Yeagley said. "We were able to learn a lot throughout the game."
The Hoosiers will be back in action on Sunday, when they take on UCLA at 2:00 pm.