IU soccer adjusts attitude, rolls over Buckeyes, 3-0

WESTFIELD — Indiana had a plan, it just didn’t have any attitude.

But after a scoreless first 45 minutes, the Hoosiers adjusted the latter and executed the former en route to a 3-0 men’s soccer victory over Ohio State at Grand Park.

“I wish I could explain (the start) — it was bad,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said. “I’ll take the responsibility. We had a lot of things we talked about tactically before the game, but maybe they needed a kick in the ass more than that. They certainly responded at the half.”

Indiana held a 4-3 edge in shots in the first half, but there was little else that measured up in the Hoosiers’ favor, especially from a coach’s perspective.

“The first half was not good. Quite honestly, (it was) a throw-away half in my opinion,” Yeagley said. “Don’t want to see that again. But the response was really good at halftime, we made some player adjustments and, quite honestly, it was not a tactical change, it was more the movement, the toughness, second-ball winning — we’re capable of doing that part. Then the soccer started getting better, too.

“… They learned from it, and we hope those periods are very far and few between. I can’t put my finger on why, but it happened and we got through it, so that’s the positive.”

The Hoosiers (2-0) showed what they learned rather quickly, scoring the game’s first goal less than three minutes into the second half.

Spencer Glass whipped a corner kick in from the right side that was ultimately deflected by Daniel Munie into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

“It was a restart that we feel is a weapon for us with Spencer’s service,” Yeagley said. “The serve’s got to be there, so it’s all on Spencer to start it, then it’s just executing and getting in good spots, which is what Munie was able to do.”

Glass and Munie were part of a backline that helped Indiana weather the first-half storms, along with Joey Maher and Brett Bebej. The quartet needed to raise their level along with the rest of the team, but the fundamentals were solid enough to keep the Buckeyes (0-1) off the scoreboard.

“Defensively, they were pretty darn good all game,” Yeagley said. “We can always hang our hat on defending. Our second-ball, our spacing, our toughness wasn’t there defensively, (in the first half), but our principles were, so when we got isolated, got into 2-v-1, 2-v-2, our angles and help were good all game. That got us through that period, quite honestly.”

And with one tally already, sophomore forward Victor Bezerra got the Hoosiers through the rest of the second half.

Bezerra, who had two goals in the 3-0, season-opening win against Wisconsin last Friday, doubled the Indiana lead in the 62nd minute when he converted a penalty kick.

And 21 minutes later, Bezerra put the icing on the cake off an indirect free kick, taking a touch from Joe Schmidt and lacing the shot into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

He’s one of the best clinical finishers, I’ve coached, first and foremost, and that’s because of the work he’s put in,” Yeagley said. “We need more players that can strike a ball with his accuracy, pace and release, then the confidence in his moments he gets (chances), he takes them well. We’ve seen it all fall, and now it’s showing up in these games.

“We need to continue to find him in key spots and set him up for having success. At the same time, I think we have a few other weapons on our team that we’ll get goals from, but with Victor’s performance and the way he’s striking the ball, we always feel there’s a goal there and it gives the team a lot of confidence.”

The goal came at a cost, however, as Bezerra had to be helped off the pitch after taking a hit on the shot, replaced by Bloomington North grad Andrew Goldsworthy in the redshirt freshman’s first appearance as as a Hoosier. Yeagley did not have an update on Bezerra’s injury status postgame.

Indiana did finish with a 9-6 edge in shots, 7-3 in shots on goal and one coach that was a lot happier when the game was over than when it started.

“Winning’s hard, so I’ll take a result every day,” Yeagley said. “… It’s a good thing this team has this resiliency-slash-ability to get through a game we’re not playing our best. Last week, probably was better than I thought, but this first half was not good.”

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