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IU and Mexico U20’s End in Scoreless Draw to End Spring Season

It may be the end of April, but the atmosphere at Bill Armstrong Stadium Sunday felt more like a mid-October or November match.

The Mexico Under-20 National Team was in town for its annual match and the product on the pitch and in the stands did not disappoint. In front of a crowd of 3,022, Mexico and IU battled in a physical and fast matchup.

There may not have been any goals on either side, but Sunday was a good test for an IU team that will face plenty of them come the 2018 regular season.

“First half we weren’t great in our first few passes and transition,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said. “As we grew into the game, we created some great chances, defended well. I thought we tactically adjusted on the field well.”

There had to be an adjustment for the Hoosiers because, until the end of the first half, Mexico had a majority of the possession and the chances. The first time IU was dangerous in front of goal came in the 43rd minute when Austin Panchot and Griffin Dorsey both had shots.

If it wasn’t for two tremendous saves from Mexico goalkeeper Carlos Avilez, the Hoosiers could have had a breakthrough in the first half. Instead, they had to battle for their chances, but didn’t give up anything easy. Both sides ended up with nine shots.

“They were tough, but I thought the defense did pretty well,” IU defender Jordan Kleyn said. “They didn’t get a lot of really good opportunities. I definitely felt like we had the better of the chances. They’re very technical, very good, very gifted, obviously, and I thought we did a good job locking them down for the most part.”

Sunday’s 0-0 draw saw the 2018 spring season come to a close. Yeagley mentioned a number of players who impressed him this spring. That included midfielder Spencer Glass, defenders AJ Palazzolo and Kleyn, midfielder Joe Schmidt who redshirted in 2017, along with forwards Justin Rennicks and Thomas Warr, among a few more.

All 13 players who saw action Sunday figure to be major contributors come August. That number is almost certain to rise with a new freshman class coming in too. Most players started in their normal spots, but Kleyn started at center back. With Palazzolo out with a concussion, according to Yeagley, it was a chance for Kleyn to show his versatility from his normal right back position.

“For the most part I thought I played pretty well,” Kleyn said. “I had a few moments where I could have done a little better, but not having some of the game experience back there – I was a little nervous coming into the game, but I have great teammates around me, so I was pretty confident that I would go in there and get the job done.”

The next time the Hoosiers take the pitch in a competitive match, it will be at Wake Forest followed by a match at North Carolina. Those games don’t figure to be hard to get up for. But in the spring, it can be more of a grind.

IU will have experience on its side with eight seniors next season. Sunday was a good test in what some challenges could look like later in 2018.

“They know what next August looks like,” Yeagley said. “We’ll be able to ramp up when we need to, that extra gear. I thought today, we showed a little bit of when we needed to, they did. That’s the sign of a really mature team.”

Josh Eastern

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: jeastern@thehoosiernetwork.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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