Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fears realized

Indiana Soccer was unable to generate multiple goals in its second-round match-up with Bradley, tied 1-1 in regulation, and was then eliminated on PKs, 5-4. This Hoosier Soccer club just reminds me so much of the 1993 squad, which was also solid defensively and had future Players of the Year Brian Maisonneuve and Todd Yeagley, but just couldn't seem to put the ball in the back of the net. They lost both the Big Ten championship game and the first game they played in the NCAA tourney (against Wisconsin I believe). On the upside, the 1994 Hoosiers went all the way to Championship game before narrowly falling to Virginia, 1-0. Hopefully, next year's soccer players will be playing in the Championship game as well. They'll lose a couple of starting defenders in Charley Traylor and Greg Stevning, as well as their back-up goalkeeper Chris Munroe, but otherwise these Hoosiers return intact. These Hoosiers have the depth to plug those gaps. The one guy to watch whether he goes pro early or not is back Ofori Sarkodie. I don't think he will, but if he does, then the Hoosiers' defense will be significantly weakened.

ACC wins the "challenge" again.
Granted, my hopes weren't the highest for great results this season, but I still am waiting to see the Big Ten win one of these things. On the upside, my predictions ran pretty decently, posting a final score 9 correct and only 2 wrong. On the downside, both of my wrong predictions were about the Big Ten winning, as Iowa and Michigan both looked weaker than even I thought they'd be.

Indiana goes to scary Southern Illinois on Saturday night. They're coming off a bad loss to Southern Cal., and while they aren't as big as Georgia Tech, they're every bit as quick and certainly seem tougher. Also, SIU is good at getting steals and shutting down foes' 3-pt. shooting, so we need Bassett, Gordon, and Ellis to control the ball without coughing it up. Gordon turned it over 8 times against GT, and I'll bet he's been hearing about that in practice.
If I were coach Sampson, I'd run a couple of plays designed to get Lance Stemler open looks early to boost his confidence, and then I'd pound the ball into DJ in the first half. To open the second half I'd look to get Jamarcus Ellis involved right away, 'cause once he scores he seems to challenge his opponent a lot, and that's only to the good for IU. I'd probably give Mike White a lot of time in this one, too, as he's got a good combo of size and speed to match up with SIU forwards.

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