IU soccer not looking at Hoyas as a rematch

The primary storyline surrounding Friday’s season opener for the Indiana men’s soccer team is that the 8 o’clock contest is a rematch of the 2012 national championship game against Georgetown, won by the Hoosiers, 1-0.

And while there’s little doubt that neither program has forgotten that game, the similarities between the teams that took the pitch in Hoover, Ala., in December of 2012 and those that will take Jerry Yeagley Field at Armstrong Stadium Friday are few.

“No, there isn’t really (much carryover) on either side,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said. “They’ve got a couple of guys that played and so do we, but as we say, whether the roles were reversed and we dropped (the title contest), that game’s done. It’s a nice story line, but the reality is this is a whole different team, primarily for both groups, and both are trying to get their first win of the season.

“What happened in ’12, that’s always ours. Our guys are just focused on Friday, not the story line of what happened in ’12.”

Indiana has seven players who saw time in the College Cup final two years ago, but just three starters — Kerel Bradford, Patrick Doody and Dylan Lax. Georgetown, ranked No. 9 to start the season, has eight players who participated in the title game and five starters.

That includes senior goalkeeper Tomas Gomez, voted the Big East Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year for 2014, and preseason Hermann Trophy Watch List member Brandon Allen. Allen, a junior forward was also voted Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

“I’d say Georgetown might be one of the most balanced teams there is out there,” Yeagley said. “They have a few attackers that are high end, top college strikers. They have arguably one of the better center backs (Joshua Yaro) in the country, a proven goalkeeper — they’re built to win games. They have a little bit of youth in a few spots, but I’ve been impressed with what they’ve done in a relatively short amount of time. They have some talent. I know they’re going to come in and feel good and feel confident.”

That said, Yeagley is also confident in his team.

“I like the mindset of where we are,” he said. “This group is set to fight and compete. Regardless of how the game is flowing, I think we’ll be able to respond.”

The Hoyas won’t be the only test of the weekend, as No. 12 Marquette awaits in a 2 p.m. matchup on Sunday. The Eagles are expected to challenge Georgetown for the conference title this season and boast a Hermann Trophy Watch List member of their own in talented forward and Ghana native C. Nortey.

But getting tested and finding answers, not just playing a championship game rematch, is what the weekend is about for the Hoosiers.

“It’s still better to (start tough) than figure things out halfway through and lose the opportunity to get someone more time and in a better role just because we didn’t know it until we got into a tougher part of the season,” Yeagley said. “And it’s a great shot of confidence if the young guys do well out of the gate against teams like this.

“It’s like, ‘OK, we have an opportunity to compete with the favorites, per se.’ That’s fine coming from where we’re coming this year.”