Butler at Indiana, quick analysis

Indiana 2, Butler 0.

The Hoosiers snap their 3-game losing streak just in time to start Big Ten play.

Full coverage in tomorrow’s Herald-Times and on www.HoosiersHQ.com.

Thanks for following along.

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Indiana is continuing to own the play. Darren Yeagle, who tore his ACL during spring practice, is about to make his first appearance of the year. He’s been practicing full go for a little bit more than a week now.

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INDIANA 2, BUTLER 0 (21:33 left, second half)

Eric Alexander gets deep into the box and takes a Billy Weaver serve — off a restart — and knocks it into the net.

If Alexander, the crafty 6-foot sophomore, needs to do something better, it’s get on the end of balls in the box. Especially if Ackley, who is 6-2, can’t play.

Kelly created the free kick with some fight on the ball, and Weaver picked up his second assist in less than five minutes with a good volley into the box.

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INDIANA 1, BUTLER 0 (25:56 left, second half)

Lee Hagedorn gets on the end of a Billy Weaver pass.

The goal is set up by some brilliant ball control from Eric Alexander, whose work just outside the 18-yard box sent the Butler defense scrambling. Alexander then fed to Weaver, who lofted a perfect pass toward the waiting head of Hagedorn. He popped it over Butler keeper Fabian Knopfler and into the net.

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Butler again with a fantastic opportunity, again off the foot of Sippola. He fired from 25 yards and Cain had to stretch out to tip the ball and send nicking off the cross bar with about 36 minutes left in the match.

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Balchan gets on the end of a centering pass but his sliding attempt pushes the ball just wide and it hits the outside of the left side of the net. That’s Indiana’s best chance of the day, though.

Butler answers with an even better chance, showing some mastery in the air. Two players touched the ball before Ben Sippola launched a shot at Chay Cain, who dove high to his left to block it away.

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Second half underway, Kelly is still up top. He’s joined by Wilmarth.

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HALF

Indiana has owned the play and is out-shooting Butler 11-2.

But in soccer, more than any other sport, quality matters so much more than quantity.

If Butler gets only one more shot, and it goes in, it won’t matter if Indiana gets another 11 lousy shots.

Putting Kelly up front seems to be working. He’s a very lively player. He had two shots — tied for the team lead with Kevin Alston, Eric Alexander and Neil Wilmarth — in just a half of a half.

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Kelly gets out in front of the Butler defense and chases down a long serve. His shot — he had to pluck the ball out of the air — from 15 yards sliced right and away from the net with about six minutes left in the half.

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The new forward line spreads the Butler defense and leads to a nice rush. Lee Hagedorn’s shot is knocked out of bounds resulting in a corner. Dan Kelly’s first attempt results in a good cross that nears the net but is knocked out the other end. His corner from the other side doesn’t have anyone on the end of it and Butler clears.

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Noschang into the game with 10 minutes left in the first half. Indiana now has arguably it’s two most talented and physically gifted players playing at forward.

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Kelly into the match at forward — he’s usually a midfielder, and has played some back, too — and makes an immediate impact. He and Rich Balchan, the true freshman from Carmel, have had a few runs that looked promising.

Kevin Alston, who also played with the U-18 team this summer, has continued pressing toward the opponent’s net from his spot out outside left back. He just had a header from within the box that caused the keeper to make a difficult save.

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Butler gets a chance on a loose ball in front of the Indiana net, but keeper Chay Cain gets out to smother it before a shot can be put on net.

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Wilmarth barely misses on a flip-kick attempt with 26 left in the first half. Indiana’s had the better of the pressure, and has a 6-1 shot advantage.

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The Hoosiers, as usual, had a light pre-game practice on Tuesday. One thing they did work on was shooting the ball from about 25 yards out. Not only do they need to take those shots more often when they are there, they must also get them on net. Brad Ring just had the space to take a shot, and he’s got the best leg on the team. But his attempt when skidding wide, without even forcing the keeper to get his hands on it.

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Crowd has slowly filled out. The fans who are here are seeing an Indiana team not afraid to run down the battery a bit early. Which is probably smart, considering the fact that Mike Freitag’s got one of the top players under the age of 18 — Dan Kelly — sitting on his bench. Kelley played for the Under-18 U.S. Team that traveled to the PanAm games this summer. Right now, he’s sitting on the bench next to Kevin Noschang, who happens to be the team’s leading scorer.

Meanwhile, Indiana just had a 20-second flurry of offensive pressure ended in an Eric Alexander shot that took a few hard bounces and had to be saved by the diving Butler keeper.

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There’s nothing complicated about what this game means. It’s very likely a defining game in the season for the Hoosiers. Head coach Mike Frietag has challenged his team to play with effort and intensity and heart. And this game, played on a wet field, will require nothing less.

Each side has already had some dangerous pressure that dissipated into mis-played touches or harmless centering passes. But it certainly looks like this will be an entertaining game.

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No surprise here as Neil Wilmarth, the energetic forward who played so well a few days ago, will start for Indiana.

Here’s the lineup, from back to front:

Chay Cain

Kevin Alston — Ofori Sarkodie — Greg Stevning — Charley Traylor

Brad Ring

Billy Weaver — Eric Alexander — Rich Balchan

Neil Wilmarth — Andy Adlard

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Tiny crowd here. Can’t be more than 100 people here right now. About ten minutes until the start.

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The clouds have mostly cleared here at Armstrong Stadium, where tonight the No. 19 Hoosiers will face in-state rival Butler at 7 p.m.

Both teams are running through warmups right now. The only major injury note for Indiana is that Brian Ackley, who led the team in scoring last year, is in street clothes. He’s been dealing with a hamstring injury but played Friday against UAB. Wonder if it’s bothering him more of if he’s just being rested for the Big Ten opener against Michigan in three days.

7 comments

  1. Ben,

    I don’t see any radio guys up here right now. But according to the game notes, it’s being broadcast on WIUX, 99.1 FM.

    You can give that a try.

    Chris

  2. Laffy,

    We talked to Zeller and had a story in Tuesday’s paper. As I have been throughout his entire recruitment, I was impressed with how articulate he was. Smart kid who’s having fun with this whole thing.

    Chris

  3. Laffy,

    I’ll put it on here for you. We’ve got this strange situation where our blog is free but our online stuff costs money. I’m never too sure how far I can go with putting stuff on here, where it earns no money, without getting, you know, fired. Put it this way: if Zagreb’s gave you an 8 oz. steak every time you walked in, would you pay for the full steak?

    Now that it’s been a few days, I’ll put it on here.

    Chris

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