Here are three things that stood out to me from Indiana’s 2-1 loss to Maryland on Sunday:
• Speed, athleticism of Maryland creates fast pace
One of the first things I realized after Sunday’s game was that the pace of play was something faster than I’d seen in any of IU’s games this season. Maryland was quick and athletic and did an excellent job of applying pressure. The pressure threw the Hoosiers – who came into the match second in the Big Ten in shot attempts – off their game, as they recorded just 11 shots with two on goal. In talking to the players and IU head coach Todd Yeagley after practice, they said they likely wouldn’t see a pace of that speed the rest of the season. The Hoosiers like to control the tempo, and when they don’t, it’s tough for them to play the style and pace of play they’re used to.
• Missed opportunities costly for IU
Because the Hoosiers couldn’t play their style of play and control the pace, it made it difficult to come back from a two-goal lead through the first 72 minutes. In the 72nd minute, junior forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen’s goal cut the deficit to one. IU had three more opportunities – a header that went over the crossbar and two corner kicks – but failed to convert. There were plenty of other opportunities for IU earlier in the match as well. Against teams like Maryland, taking advantage of every opportunity is crucial. And with Notre Dame and Michigan State ahead, it will be equally important as they likely won’t be getting 15 to 20 shots, let alone 11, off against them.
• Loss has big impact on conference standings and RPI
Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Maryland presents a number of implications for Indiana moving forward. Had the Hoosiers won, all they would’ve had to do is win out in order to win the Big Ten regular season title. Now? It’s not as easy, especially with Notre Dame next. It also impacted their RPI, though they still have a top-five ranking in that category. Similar to the goal scoring opportunities, the loss was a major missed opportunity to advance in the Big Ten standings.