Here are three things that stood out to me from Tuesday night’s exhibition opener against Xavier:
• McIntosh’s strong play at forward
I was particularly impressed with freshman forward Jay McIntosh’s performance Tuesday night. McIntosh had three shot attempts, the second-highest number of attempts between the two teams. He really got the offense going and was a facilitator on the field.
• Grant Lillard steady at centerbackFreshman defender Grant Lillard was another player who stood out. Lillard, who spent time at centerback when on the field, nearly tied the game following up redshirt senior midfielder Jamie Vollmer’s shot. At 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, don’t be surprised if Lillard secures spot along the backline.
• Offense already aggressive despite lack of chemistry and cohesion, while the defense needs patience
For a team still figuring out who fits best in what position on the field, the chemistry looked good initially on the offensive side. The Hoosier offense played aggressive throughout the first half and got eight shot attempts, while the Musketeers managed just one. It’s definitely a great sign for Hoosier fans that the aggressiveness is there despite the cohesion still needing to be developed.
On the other side of the field, I thought the Hoosier defense played well for the most part. The backline communicated effectively the majority of the time. At times, though, it also looked impatient and tried to force plays that weren’t there. Like chemistry, being patient and waiting for plays to develop will happen over time.
Plenty of questions still remain about the chemistry and lineup, so it will be interesting to see what IU head coach Todd Yeagley does for IU’s final exhibition game this Saturday vs. Washington. Look for a preview with that and much more this Saturday on AllHoosiers.com.