A multitude of chances, a multitude of missed opportunities for the Indiana men’s soccer team.
Despite finishing with a 13-6 shot advantage, the Hoosiers could not convert, falling to Xavier 1-0 in their exhibition opener at Armstrong Stadium.
“We looked really good at times,” IU senior defender Patrick Doody said. “ They just came out and beat us in the second half. It’s that simple.”
As IU redshirt sophomore defender Derek Creviston attempted to move the ball forward, IU looked defenseless as Xavier took advantage with its counter attack. A 2-on-1 advantage led to Xavier junior midfielder Alex Ridsdale scoring in close in the 71st minute.
“We gave it up, and Derek was a little impatient making a play, and we got to being in a delay mode,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “He felt he could make a play, and you’ve got to be 100 percent sure because once you’re off your feet, you’re done and it’s a 2v1. Again, that’s execution.”
IU’s offense looked aggressive early, as it outshot Xavier 8-1 in the first half. But the aggression didn’t always lead to the expected execution.
Despite this, Yeagley said he liked his team’s aggressiveness throughout the night.
“This is a pretty tough team for how young they are. I like that,” he said. “I mean they get after it and they work hard.
“Our spacing, our combination play was not very clean, but we haven’t worked on that very much. We’ve worked more on the defensive side, and I thought we were fairly hard to play through.”
Yeagley said the attacking part will come as players get on the same page. Doing so will take time, though, as the Hoosiers are trying to find the right lineup with 13 new players and only three returning starters.
Freshman forward Jay McIntosh, one of the new players, started at the beginning of both the first and second half and saw lots of playing time. McIntosh stood out from other newcomers with three shot attempts, second-highest amount in the game.
McIntosh and Grant Lillard were two of six freshmen who saw playing time during the match.
Lillard, a defender, had the best goal scoring opportunity in the second half. Following up on redshirt senior midfieldier Jamie Vollmer’s shot, he would send his attempt over the cross bar.
“The ball got slotted back to me, I was at the top of the six,” Lillard said. “I went to kick it, kicked the ground a little bit, leaned back and just skied it over. (It’s) just disappointing, I’ve got to do do better than that next time.”
While there were many new faces on the field, an old and familiar one was missing. The Hoosiers were without junior forward/midfielder Femi Hollinger-Janzen, one of their top goal-scorers from last season.
Yeagley said the team was being careful by not playing him.
“He’s had some knee issues, a little discomfort,” Yeagley said. “Femi immediately changes the game with his presence. And the things that we were struggling with in the second half, he’s a player that would change a lot of that.”
Yeagley said the team will take the first-game nerves into consideration, but won’t make excuses.
“We’ve got to get better in some spots quick, and our preseason doesn’t allow much time for that,” he said “We’ve got to address it, look at the film, make corrections, and figure out what personnel is best suited to play together.”