After posting the longest losing streak in program history, the Indiana men's soccer team (5-9-1, 1-2 in Big Ten) was able to put together a performance not often seen this season as they took down the Evansville Purple Aces (8-5-1) on Wednesday night, 4-2.
It had been over 200 minutes since the Hoosiers had scored a goal, spanning two shutouts, but when Indiana took the pitch, there would be no denying them.
The barrage of goals started in the 21st minute, when senior co-captain Harrison Petts found himself all alone just inside the Evansville penalty area. The midfielder turned towards goal and took a well-placed shot into the opposite corner, well out of reach of keeper Eric Teppen.
"I've never really considered myself a goal scorer in college," Petts said. "But whenever I can score a goal and help the team, especially getting on the board early, it's a good thing."
The half would end in that 1-0 score line, but the Hoosiers had plenty of chances to build upon that lead, which they converted in the second half.
Patrick Doody found his second goal of the season after teammate Jamie Vollmer flicked a pass over to the left side of the box, and Doody had the right sense of mind to take the ball off the bounce and place a one-time shot on frame that sailed into the upper corner.
With all the momentum in their favor, Indiana scored again just over a minute later. This time it was Andrew Oliver with the tally on the score sheet for being in the right place at the right time, as Matt McKain barreled into the box and had his shot deflected by Teppen, only to find Oliver waiting for the rebound.
"It feels awesome, to just be out there with my team and do as much as I can to help us on the field," Oliver said. "It's an indescribable feeling. It was a good play, I found the ball at my feet and with just a little composure, I found the open net."
The final goal for the home side would come with 15 minutes left in the game, as A.J. Corrado stole the ball from the visitors and made his way up-field. He played a perfectly placed through ball to Kyle Sparks just before he was hit by an Evansville defender. Sparks took the ball straight to the goal and slotted it past Teppen as Corrado laid in the middle of the field in visible pain. He was able to walk off under his own power, but didn't return to the game.
The part of this match that did go according to the rest of this season was the final five minutes, where twice Evansville was able to find the back of the net due to poor clearances by the Hoosiers. Fortunately for Indiana, there was not enough time on the clock for the Aces to mount a true comeback.
"It was nice to see them rewarded for the good work they have been doing," head coach Todd Yeagley commented. "Tonight we created a lot of chances, but we have had similar chances in previous games that just haven't gone in. So it's great to see the goals."
The goals need to keep coming for the Hoosiers, as they are not only in danger of having their first ever losing season in program history, but also in danger of missing a chance to defend their national title. With very few games left, Indiana must look to build momentum heading into the Big Ten tournament, as the winner will earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
The next step towards that comes in the form of an away match at Michigan (6-4-3, 2-2 in Big Ten) on Saturday.