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Rain or shine: IU males’s soccer glides previous Wildcats in Massive Ten Match Opener

Mom Nature has a humorous manner of expressing her feelings. One second she’s dropping buckets of rain down onto Invoice Armstrong Stadium, the subsequent she’s portray golden solar rays to the West and a double rainbow to the East.

And on Saturday evening in Bloomington, because the skies opened up and Mom Nature did all she may to wreak havoc on the sector beneath, IU males’s soccer glided previous Northwestern, 3-0, within the Quarterfinals of the Massive Ten Match.

“It was a wierd first half,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley mentioned. “Climate performed into that strangeness. The solar got here out at one level, the rain, I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know if we’d have snow subsequent.”

Happily for the Hoosiers — and all the Bloomington neighborhood — it didn’t find yourself snowing, however rain or shine, Indiana caught to its sport plan, adjusted when vital, and flexed its muscular tissues towards an overmatched Northwestern workforce.

For a lot of the primary half, you’d have thought Jerry Yeagley Discipline was situated in the midst of the Amazon Rainforest. The precipitation was heavy and regular, even blowing sideways at occasions which made for errant passes and less-than-superb play from both workforce.

Fortunately for top-seeded Indiana, it had the good thing about internet hosting the Quarterfinals matchup, and thus had a greater really feel of how the turf would play and what tweaks they would want to make to accommodate the slick enjoying floor.

“The sport plan was each end that now we have, attempt hitting it low, use the situations in our favor,” IU sophomore ahead Victor Bezerra mentioned.

Victor Bezerra scored his third brace of the season in IU’s 3-0 win over Northwestern within the Massive Match Quarterfinals on April 11, 2021, at Invoice Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.

Not solely did that sport plan work for IU, it resulted in one other multi-goal effort for Bezerra, his third brace and eighth objective of the season.

The primary of Bezerra’s two objectives got here early within the seventh minute when fellow sophomore attacking mate Herbert Endeley was tripped up contained in the 18-yard field and elicited a penalty kick in favor of the Hoosiers. With out considering twice, Yeagley known as upon Bezerra and the newly-minted Massive Ten Offensive Participant of the 12 months rewarded his workforce by burying a shot into the underside left of the online.

The early tally was essential for Indiana because the rain, which initially started as a slight drizzle, unleashed a storm that lasted for the rest of the primary half. That’s the place issues started going a bit awry for IU, although, as its lack of aggressiveness and opportunistic ending drew the displeasure of Yeagley and the teaching employees.

“That’s the place the problem was at halftime,” Yeagley mentioned, “to proceed to carry the tempo, however change the gear. There simply wanted to be a tempo change at sure occasions, and we noticed extra of that within the second half.”

Regardless of the slower tempo to open the match, IU’s backline nonetheless stifled Northwestern’s assault, limiting the Wildcats to simply two complete photographs, zero photographs on objective, and 0 nook kicks. It was a comparatively quiet day for the reigning Massive Ten Goalkeeper of the 12 months, Roman Celentano, given the standard play of defensive mates. Backup goalkeeper Bryant Pratt even made his IU debut with lower than 10 minutes remaining, an indication of how nicely the Hoosier protection was holding up.

And it was solely a matter of time earlier than IU’s assault started to match its defensive depth.

Within the forty second minute, simply earlier than halftime, ahead Ryan Wittenbrink capitalized on a significant gaffe by Northwestern beginning goalkeeper Ethan Bandre. With a reside ball trickling again inside Northwestern’s objective field and Wittenbrink in heavy pursuit, Bandre tried to clear the ball however as an alternative kicked it proper again to Wittenbrink who completed off IU’s 2-nil lead. It marked the fourth objective of Wittenbrink’s breakout redshirt sophomore marketing campaign.

Then, to slam the door shut one closing time on the Wildcats’ season, Bezerra struck once more within the 72nd minute. A textbook contact go from midfielder Joe Schmidt discovered a streaking Bezerra on their lonesome inside Northwestern’s field and he rifled a curving shot previous Bandre’s outstretched arms.

“When (Bezerra’s) across the 18 (-yard field), you get excited, we get excited, different groups not, however we’re,” Yeagley mentioned with a slight chuckle.

Maybe it’s a bit untimely to say, however with Bezerra main the offensive cost, IU’s ceiling is as excessive as any workforce within the nation. Couple that with a stout protection that has conceded a complete of two objectives all season and it’s no marvel why Indiana has catapulted itself into competition for a high seed within the NCAA Match.

Nevertheless, the Hoosiers should care for enterprise within the Massive Ten Match first earlier than they will even assume past that, which suggests up subsequent is Semifinals tango with bitter rival Maryland on Wednesday.

In what will be the hardest match of the season for the Hoosiers after they face the Terrapins — their common season match was cancelled — they’ll want each little bit of Bezerra, the stone-wall protection, and the arrogance that confirmed on Saturday towards the Wildcats.

“We come to IU for greater issues than particular person awards,” Bezerra mentioned. “We search for the workforce objectives and that’s the place my heads at proper now.”

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