Following its home match against a talented Saint Louis team, the No. 16 Indiana men’s soccer team will face No. 6 Louisville in Louisville, Ky. Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. for its second match against a top-10 team in seven days.
”We’re really excited,” senior defender Patrick Doody said. “We’re really happy last Wednesday went well. We know it’s going to be a great atmosphere, so it will be fun.”
The Hoosiers (6-1-3) face a Cardinals team which has lost its last two matches after winning four in a row. Louisville (5-3-1) still boasts a winning record despite those struggles and the 34th-best RPI in Division I.
Last week, its RPI was eighth-best in Division I.
”Louisville is certainly very deserving of their top RPI,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “Both of their losses this (past) week were way against the flow, meaning that they were the better side in both after watching both games. This is a really good team.”
Ten of IU’s 14 goals this season have come in the last four games, highlighted by a four-goal output against Central Florida on Sept. 22 and a three-goal performance against then-No. 8 Saint Louis on Oct. 1.
Part of the success of the Hoosier offense can be attributed to the defense, which has accounted for three of the 14 goals scored.
Senior defender Patrick Doody said it’s something the back line doesn’t really notice while it is out on the field.
“It’s kind of just, whoever can help us on a certain play, it happens,” Doody said. “It’s been cool that a few us have contributed, but it’s not something I can say how it is. It just happens.”
Yeagley said it’s been good to get the contributions they’ve received so far from the defense.
”We knew we needed to get some points from them on top of their good defending,” he said. “Again, that’s secondary to what they need to do first, and they know that. They’re not judging their performance on their attacking play, it’s their defending play. This is just bonus.”
The IU defense will be challenged by Louisville's attacking play. The Cardinals have scored 16 goals this season, the majority of which have come on multi-goal efforts in four of their five wins this season.
”As a team, we all have this mindset that we’re ready to face whatever it is that’s brought to us,” junior forward Andrew Oliver said. “Our coach does a great job of preparing for us, letting us know what to look for, what are going to be some strengths to play to and to defend. (We) just have to keep playing off that and bring it all.”
Tuesday’s match against Louisville marks a part of IU’s schedule in which four of its next six games are on the road. Yeagley said the match will be important for setting the tone for the upcoming stretch.
”We just know all these games have relevance, and this team doesn’t mind traveling,” Yeagley said. “So I’m not concerned about going on the road. In some ways, I think they like the hostile environment on the road. We’ll put our best foot forward.”