The Indiana men’s soccer team looks to snap a three-game losing streak, all the losses coming in overtime, when they take on Cal State Bakersfield Friday night at 8 o’clock at Armstrong Stadium, following the unbeaten IU women’s soccer team (5-0-1) taking on St. John’s (6-0).
Men’s coach Todd Yeagley didn’t come right out and say Dylan Lax would be starting at center back in place of freshman Billy McConnell, but it appears that will be the case for a defense that was gashed for five goals against West Virginia last Sunday. Lax started in the back for the second half of that game.
““We’ve got a lot of confidence in Billy,” Yeagley said. “I think right now with some of the things we’re needing in the back, some communication, he’s a really talented, young player, but that’s not his strength right now. So if Dylan can give us that, I know he can, maybe that’s the move we need to make to take care of some scenarios earlier, the way Caleb (Konstanski) did for us last year. We really miss Caleb’s ability and communication. Sometimes one little piece or lack of something can domino, and that would be a big reason.(Dylan) knows the position, knows what we want, he’s steady. We’ll make that decision. I have confidence in both. Billy’s going to play a lot of minutes for us this year, regardless of what we do this weekend or next game.”
Yeagley also expects redshirt sophomore Michael Soderlund back between the pipes after missing the West Virginia game with a hip pointer, giving freshman Colin Webb his first collegiate start.
“Michael looks good. He’s very likely to get in, which is great. Colin, that’s a tough first game to get thrown into from the standpoint of what we needed. Goals, these guys (on the other team), I hate to say couldn’t score again, but I played a lot of soccer games, and I don’t think I’ve gotten close to that last goal (by West Virginia). It was a tough game for (Webb), because he played pretty well as a goalie to give up five. It’s hard to even comprehend that, but I’ve got confidence in our whole goalkeeping group. If Mike can go, he’s the guy that’s No. 1 right now.”
Despite the recent slide, Yeagley doesn’t see this game as a must-win, just another of many chances in a tough schedule to get a good win.
“You don’t want them to be pressing and feeling tight, that this is THE game. It’s not,” he said. “We want to get a result, but the reality is there is another one come Sunday. We keep going. Our schedule is brutal, but it’s so rewarding to play the next one, because there’s opportunities to win great games. That’s the way I look at it. It’s not, ‘Gosh, we have all these tough games coming up we might lose.’ It’s, ‘I think these are games we might win.’
“So much of what this team set out to do this year is all attainable. All of it. That I think kind of resonates with them. Nothing that we’ve set as an important goal this year is out of the realm.”