For the second consecutive weekend, the Indiana men’s soccer team will be playing in a weekend tournament. This time, though, they’ll be facing unranked opponents in both games.
That doesn’t matter to sophomore midfielder Tanner Thompson.
”We just focus on every game the same,” he said. “We go into it the same way, we prepare the same way, and we always go in to get that win.”
No. 12 IU travels to Notre Dame, Indiana to face Kentucky at 5 p.m. on Friday and Dartmouth at 11:30 a.m. Sunday as part of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament. It’s an opportunity to continue to develop chemistry and address other areas of the team.
One of those areas is the starting lineup. Over the weekend, Yeagley made tactical changes along the back line. After starting freshman midfielder/defender Trevor Swartz against Georgetown, Yeagley swapped Swartz out for sophomore defender Billy McConnell in the starting lineup against Marquette.
This kind of approach to the lineup is something Yeagley said the team will be doing going forward, especially with redshirt senior defender Kerel Bradford not being ready to play a full 90 minutes just yet.
“We don’t want to change to change,” Yeagley said. “So it’s going to be for specific reasons. I don’t like to do that, but if it helps this team as we get through health and we get growth with some of our new guys, we might want to do that.”
The tactical change shows how much depth the team has, according to senior defender Patrick Doody.
“It (the depth) is nice,” Doody said. “It’s something new that we haven’t had on this team, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Doody was part of a defensive back line that, led by sophomore goalkeeper Colin Webb, helped secure the team’s first shutout of the season against Marquette last Sunday.
That shutout, which was recorded after just the second game of the season, showed improvement on the Hoosiers’ defensive end, as last year’s squad didn’t get its first shutout until the ninth game of the season.
As confident and helpful as it is for his team, Yeagley said they aren’t reading too much into the numbers.
“It’s still early to put too much on what’s happened in one weekend,” he said. “You can’t put too much into it because there’s not much of a body of work yet.”
The Wildcats are led by junior goalkeeper Callum Irving. Playing all 180 minutes so far this season, he has posted five saves and a shutout, allowing just one goal.
While Kentucky already has two games under its belt and gives the Hoosiers plenty to scout, the same cannot be said of Dartmouth. The Big Green play their season opener this Friday against No. 2 Notre Dame.
In regards to scouting and preparation, Yeagley said Dartmouth not having played a game yet does present a little bit of a challenge.
“We have an idea of what they do,” Yeagley said. “We will see them Friday at the tournament, so we’ll see them live after our game. We will have less of a turnaround than we usually do with scouting, but we’ll turn around as fast as we can.”
The quick turnaround is same the mentality the Hoosiers are applying to the games this weekend after a successful weekend against two top-15 opponents.
“We’re happy about the weekend and the results,” Doody said. “But that’s completely done with – it’s two games out of a huge season, a very long season. Friday against Kentucky will be just as important as last weekend.”