FINAL: INDIANA 2, EVANSVILLE 0. Great first half and solid second half for the host Hoosiers.
Still Indiana 2, Evansville 0 with 7 minutes to play. Relatively uneventful second half, but IU still has had the best chances. And maybe the best of those came with 17:05 left as a Kotlov volley off a great cross went high.
HALFTIME: INDIANA 2, EVANSVILLE 0. Hoosiers with a dazzling half, and could have had even more. IU has a 13-2 bulge in shots. Maybe as good a half as Indiana has had this year. Could legitimately be 4-0 or so. Ballard had a shot teed up by Zavaleta that I initially thought was a goal but wasn’t (it hit the side netting and I thought it was in, and thank you IU Soccer Fan for the corrective heads up) and Zavaleta missed an open net off a fine feed from Femi Hollinger=Janzen. Defense was mega-solid, too. Total domination of a pretty good Evansville team.
14:35: Indiana 2, Evansville 0: Nikita Kotlov with a brilliant goal. After Richard Ballard dispossessed Evansville in the corner, Kotlov took the ball to the endline and outmaneuvered defenders on the dead run down the endline and somehow gave himself enough angle to beat Teppen inside the far post. Really spectactular stuff. Both of IU’s goals so far were special.
20:29: Indiana 1, Evansville 0: A superb service from the left-wing from Patrick Doody set up a flying header by Eriq Zavaleta for the sophomore’s 14th goal this season. It came exactly 16 seconds after IU keeper Luis Soffner had caught a dangerous right-footed volley by UE’s Dylan Terry to initiate a lightning-fast counter.
PREGAME: The Purple Aces are here wearing orange warmups (a hue often utilized as complementary trim to the purple for UE athletic sides), but this series isn’t quite as colorful since the retirement of Fred “The Mouth of the South” Schmalz, who helped guide Evansville through some very potent soccer seasons and is in the MVC Hall of Fame. IU leads the overall series 24-4-3 and is unbeaten in the past 14 matches.
Still, this Evansville side has had a strong 9-5 campaign so far, including a victory over an excellent Southern Illinois-Edwardsville club. UE featurers Alex Kapsalis, a surname well-known in IU soccer circles, and freshman reserve Pete DiPrimio, the former Bloomington North standout and son of my sportswriter colleague Pete DiPrimio. Indiana needs the win, with last week’s lost to Michigan dropping the Hoosier RPI to No. 7 in the nation, with the top eight earning NCAA first-round byes. So the home team can’t afford another RPI hit. We’ll have updates here and also via Twitter at htograham.