Already facing a short turnaround, the No. 16 Indiana men’s soccer team will face another Top 10 opponent in No. 8 Saint Louis at Bill Armstrong Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
”Our guys are excited for the match,” said Indiana men's soccer coach Todd Yeagley said. “It’s a program rivalry, it’s a team that’s had a fantastic season. I expect our guys to find the energy in the tank that we need based on exhausting a lot on Sunday.”
The matchup will feature the two most successful programs in men’s college soccer history. Saint Louis has won 10 titles – most in Men’s Division I soccer history – and IU has won eight, the second most.
Players recognize the success of both programs, but for Hoosiers redshirt senior midfielder Jamie Vollmer, the past isn’t as important come Wednesday night.
”When the game starts, it doesn’t mean anything,” Vollmer said. “At the end of the day, this is our season now. We’re looking to do it (win the title) again.”
The Billikens (7-1-0) enter the match against the Hoosiers (5-1-3) having won five straight matches. Their lone loss was 4-0 to Memphis on Sept. 6.
Yeagley said Saint Louis is a confident group.
”They’re feeling good, as they should,” he said. “They’re getting good wins against some good teams. Certainly there’s been a few of their games that hasn’t been the challenge that we’ve had, but they’re still winning those games, and those can be as dangerous in a different way.”
IU has yet to put together that long of a win streak and are coming off a 1-1 double overtime draw with Northwestern. By only scoring one goal in that game, IU’s multi-goal scoring streak ended after scoring four against Central Florida and two against Rutgers.
What the Hoosiers have been lacking on offense, the Billikens have not. Senior forward Robert Kristo, whose 10 goals last season were second best in the Atlantic 10, leads Saint Louis with six goals this season. Seven other players have scored the remaining goals for the Billikens.
Vollmer said the team has defended very well and it’s a good challenge going against a good attacking team.
”We know we’re going to get chances, it’s just about putting them away,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to feel the pressure (to score), but we all know in the back of our head it’s time to start scoring goals.
Senior defender Patrick Doody said the team is preparing for the Billiken’s offense just like any other match.
”We have got to keep the ball out of the net,” Doody said. “We did that 89 minutes yesterday until the very end (when) they (Northwestern) got one on us. It’s going a team defensive performance that’s going to help the ball stay out of the net.”
Wednesday will be the first time the rival programs have played each other since 2012, when IU topped Saint Louis 2-1 in St. Louis, Mo.
”This a circled game,” Yeagley said. “This is one that we, as a program, have had great rivalries with in the past. I see that no different Wednesday.”