Image courtesy of IU Athletics
IUSportCom’s Jake Freud disccuses Indiana men’s soccer, including Eriq Zavaleta’s continued domination, the Hoosiers’ chances to win conference, and their recent victory over Wisconsin.
On Homecoming Saturday, the Hoosiers, ranked 14th in the nation, took on the Badgers of Wisconsin, defeating the men from Madison by a score of 2-0.
From the get-go, the Hoosiers played with a major intensity, driven by a loss against the Badgers last year.
This game was dominated by the three-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and reigning National Player of the Week, Sophomore striker Eriq Zavaleta, who put in two goals—one in the 11th minute off a corner kick, and a second one in the 48th minute off a beautiful chip shot to beat freshman Badger goalie Chase Rau.
After the game, Zavaleta was optimistic about the rest of season, saying, “If I score goals, and we keep playing defense the way we are, we’re gonna keep winning games”.
Coach Todd Yeagley recognized how intensely his squad is playing right now.
“[Midfielder Jacob] Bushue’s an animal; you hate playing against that guy for 90 minutes. There’s no doubt other teams just don’t like playing against that guy. And [Midfielder] Harry’s [Petts] toughness is elevated a new level, he’s really starting to come into his own.”
True to Zavaleta’s words, the defense has been absolutely stellar this year, led by three-time Big Ten Defense Player of the week, senior goalkeeper Luis Soffner. Soffner and the rest of the defense stalwarts, including one-time Big Ten Defense Player of the week, senior defenseman Caleb Konstanski, have held opponents scoreless seven times in 12 games, including in every single Big Ten game.
The regular season is almost over, and with six games left to play, including four at Armstrong Stadium, Indiana leads the B1G with a 9-2-1 record, and the No. 12 ranking in the country.
The team looks strong approaching the end of the season. With the Big Ten tournament less than a month away, Indiana is sure to be the favorite.
“We wanted to be in control of our destiny in the Big Ten, which we are” Yeagley said, “And that’s a powerful feeling.”
Indiana’s next game is at Louisville on Wednesday, October 10th, and then there are three-straight home games: the first against in-state rival Butler on the 16th, the second against Michigan on the 19th, and the third against Evansville on the 24th.