Indiana players are all too familiar with last year’s match with Butler.
Leading 2-0 in the 86th minute, IU allowed Butler to score two goals in the final four minutes of regulation to force overtime. In overtime, the Bulldogs scored the decisive goal for a 3-2 victory.
On Wednesday night, IU will have the chance to avenge last year’s loss with a non-conference matchup against Butler at 7:30 at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
”You can’t lose a game like that and not at least have that in the back of your mind the next time you play them,” senior defender Patrick Doody said. “I know the returners, including myself, haven’t forgotten about that. We’ve been chomping at the bit to finally play them again.
Indiana comes into the game 3-1-1 this season after dropping a 1-0 decision to Penn State in the Big Ten opener last Saturday night in Bloomington. Butler is 2-2-2 this season, including an 0-2-1 record in its last three games.
The front six of the Bulldogs will provide a challenge for the Hoosier defense early. Four of those front six have accounted for the team’s eight goals.
As a result, IU will have its attention divided on four different scorers rather than a main leading one. Yeagley said individual and team defensive assignments will be key in this game.
“This is a good attacking team,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “And again, our schedule has helped us with this. We’ve had some good attacking groups we’ve played against.”
Defensively, Butler has an inexperienced keeper in goal in sophomore Eric Dick. The Carmel, Ind. native has played in all six of Butler games this season, but did not play at all in 2013.
IU faced an inexperienced keeper in Penn State’s Evan Finney last Saturday. IU head coach Todd Yeagley will be employing some of the same tactics against the Bulldogs that his team used against the Nittany Lions.
”Whenever you’re playing an experienced keeper, I think the key is to test him early,” redshirt senior midfielder Dylan Lax said. “Just let him know that you’re there. And I think that’s something we’re going to have to do early in the game, test him with shots and make good saves.”
Experience, especially along the back line, is also something the Hoosiers lack at the moment. Redshirt senior defender Kerel Bradford, a regular starter at center back last season, is still nursing an injury and has yet to play a full 90 minutes.
”He’s not quite where we need him or where he needs to be yet,” Yeagley said. “But he’s a great player to have right now to bring it situationally.”
Bradford is one of those players who faced Butler last season and suffered the last-minute defeat. Though it’s an opportunity for him and his teammates to avenge last season’s loss, they are treating it just like any other game this season.
“We have the same thoughts going into every single game,” Lax said. “That’s to out there and win for our crowd, win for ourselves and win for IU. Not really a different mentality other than to go out there and get the W.”