The Indiana men’s soccer team added another win Tuesday night at Armstrong Stadium by defeating in-state opponent Butler by a score of 2-0.
The Hoosiers, ranked 11th in the nation, sputtered offensively for the majority of the game, but were able to make the most of the opportunities they created with goals from Eriq Zavaleta and Nikita Kotlov.
“It wasn’t a very good night for us performance-wise,” Coach Todd Yeagley said. “You give Butler credit.”
Butler controlled most of the first half, and was able to get the ball in the net in the 17th minute. The goal was not counted, however, as Butler was called offside.
Ten minutes later, Eriq Zavaleta was able to put a header past Butler goalkeeper Jon Dawson off a throw-in from Nikita Kotlov, giving the Hoosiers a one-goal lead at the halfway mark, and Zavaleta his 14th goal of the season.
Indiana came out more aggressive after the half, but was still unable to wrest control away from Butler as the Bulldogs amassed three quick corner kicks early in the second half. The Hoosiers defense stiffened, however, and the shutout continued.
“I guess we’ve just been going harder in the box—like we should have been doing all over the field,” Kotlov said of the bend-but-don’t-break defensive effort.
By the time Indiana got its first corner kick, Butler had produced six.
The Hoosiers notched their second goal in the 52nd minute when Kotlov, off an assist from Jacob Bushue, scored his second goal of the season.
Both Yeagley and Kotlov voiced disappointment in the overall effort and expressed the need to maintain a positive mentality going forward.
“Tactically, tonight, we weren’t very sharp in our decisions,” Yeagley said. “This is a game that we’ll learn from and we just know that when the soccer isn’t going great, we have to find ways to be effective physically and psychologically.”
Kotlov added, “We’ve just got to play our game. We can’t allow certain moments to bring us down. We’ve got to stay positive as a team.”
The Hoosiers, now sporting a 10-2-2 record, will seek improvement as they continue conference play against Michigan at 7:30 Friday night at Armstrong Stadium after the women’s team hosts Minnesota.