Here are a couple things that stood out to me in IU’s 1-0 exhibition victory over No. 6 Washington Saturday night in Fort Wayne:
• Hollinger-Janzen the difference maker
It’s incredible how much the Hoosier offense improves when junior forward/midfielder Femi Hollinger-Janzen is healthy and in the starting lineup. His absence was felt in the 1-0 exhibition loss to Xavier earlier this week, but he made up for it by scoring the lone goal in Saturday night’s victory.
In addition to scoring the decisive goal, Hollinger-Janzen’s aggressiveness also led to other opportunities in the first half. A give-and-go between him and freshman forward/midfielder Jay McIntosh in the 42nd minute led to a close shot by McIntosh, which would ultimately go straight to the goalkeeper’s hands. He also nearly got an assist playing a ball to sophomore midfielder Tanner Thompson, but the shot was saved. Opportunities like those showed that he was as much a facilitator as he was scorer.
• Hoosier goalkeepers have strong performances
Against a Top 10 team in the country, IU goalkeepers Colin Webb and Sean Weidman held their own. At one point in the first half, Webb made three consecutive stops – two of which were on shots from point-blank range – on the same offensive attack. With a defense that is still working to develop its chemistry, Webb and his athleticism will be relied on often until the backline becomes a cohesive unit.
Weidman replaced Webb in goal in the second half and made two saves. While he didn’t have any highlight-reel plays, he still made stops when it mattered most. Washington had a few opportunities with seven minutes remaining but Weidman made sure nothing got past him.
The performances by both keepers just show how much depth the Hoosiers have at the position. Obviously both did this with less playing time than they would normally get if one or the other started in a regular season game, but it’s a good sign for IU head coach Todd Yeagley knowing that when one keeper goes out, the other can pick up right where the starter left off.