November 20, 2016
Kathryn L. Knapp
IU men shut down Akron in 1-0 win
Chicagoland Soccer News Contributing Editor
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Defense wins championships. It’s a motto synonymous with Indiana soccer. Every year, the coaches reiterate that point. Sunday afternoon, IU showed it’s defensive strength, as the No. 6 Hoosiers shutout the No. 24 Akron Zips 1-0.
Both offenses created enough opportunities to score Sunday. The Hoosiers narrowly out shot the Zips 13-12, with four shots on goal to three. But in the second half, Akron didn’t threaten the goal once, with IU’s defense standing strong. Every attack the Zips made, IU had an answer for.
Defender Billy McConnell gave the Hoosiers the lead in the 54th minute and IU never looked back. McConnell said they concentrate on every game, but the players have their eyes on the bigger prize.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” McConnell said. “We want to go to the Final Four (College Cup). We want to go to Houston and get a ring. We want to stay together as long as possible.”
Midfielder Francesco Moore spent a lot of time running down players and stopping Akron’s run of play. Moore said they went into the match with a solid game plan.
“We take pride in our defense,” Moore said. “They have a lot of guys on their team that are very skillful and very fast. We couldn’t give them time on the ball so they could pick us a part.”
Akron had three back-to-back shots starting in the 34th minute, when IU defender Grant Lillard caught up to Akron’s Jonathan Lewis, blocking Lewis’s attempt. Nick Hinds then sent two shots on target, the men in red lined the box, covering goalkeeper Christian Lomeli, who was able to keep the net clean.
“Today we were able to fine-tune some of our mistakes from earlier in the season,” McConnell said. “Defensively we are connected and are in sync.”
With just over 15 minutes left, IU defender Andrew Gutman cleared another Akron attempt. With one second remaining, Akron’s Sam Gainford tried to send one into the net. The clock ran out, but Lomeli still grabbed the ball, again preserving his net. Lomeli earned his fourth shutout of the season. Fellow goalkeeper Colin Webb had seven shutouts for 11 total on the 2016 campaign.
“The defense was fantastic,” Indiana Head Coach Todd Yeagley said. “Our back four, Grant [Lillard] in particular, gave an All-American performance.”
Indiana (12-1-7) will host Virginia Tech next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.