After multiple scrimmages over the past six days, Indiana will finally get a chance to play someone besides its own teammates with a home exhibition matchup against the Xavier Musketeers tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.
“I’m excited to see how the group does,” IU senior defender Patrick Doody said. “It’s been a good first week here, a little under a week. It will be good to see and test ourselves against somebody different.”
IU head coach Todd Yeagley will be examining multiple aspects of his team throughout the matchup, one of which will be depth.
Measuring depth will be key, as the Hoosiers gained 13 new players this season while returning only 3 starters from last year’s squad. Yeagley said he wants to give almost everyone minutes in the exhibition.
“We’re playing different segment games and continue to evaluate,” he said. “We can’t jump to conclusions on some of the decision making on some young guys or returners, because it’s still early.”
Yeagley will also be experimenting with different positions in the lineup. As a result, players’ minutes will be less than a typical regular season game in the fall.
He will, however, keep a “core” group together. Yeagley said this core group will consist of players competing for a spot in that rotation.
There will also be a second group of 16 players who will rotate, but not have as many changes at one time.
“If you make more than three, the team can start to look different,” he said. “But again, we have three starters back. The cohesion is not even there with the returners because (for) a lot of them, their roles are different this year than they were last year.”
While the Hoosiers will be experimenting with their lineup and getting organized, Xavier will already have that accomplished. Redshirt junior forward/midfielder Kyle Sparks said this is one of the challenges the Musketeers present.
“They’re always an organized squad,” Sparks said. “They work hard. They’re defense-first and don’t give up easy goals. It’s always a good game, and it’s always fun.”
The Musketeers’ 25 total goals scored last season were tied for 84th-most in the country. Defensively, they allowed just 19 goals while the Hoosiers gave up 38.
Yeagley said he wants to see what the identity of the group is, establish depth and roles and track performance for each player by the end of the match.
Because it is a preseason game, he said he will make changes regardless of the score. If it were a game in the fall, it would be different.
“I don’t need to say the result isn’t important,” Yeagley said. “The guys want to win no matter who’s out there, so that’s a given.”
Doody, who said he has played Xavier a few times in his career, expects the Hoosiers to play confident. He also knows it will be a challenge.
“I’m expecting a great Xavier side,” he said. “It will be a very good tune-up for what we got coming up in a couple weeks.”