Multiple Indiana players were left on the ground in disbelief as Wake Forest freshman forward Kyle Holcomb celebrated the game-winning overtime goal to propel the Demon Deacons over the Hoosiers 2-1.
It was a back-and-forth affair which saw IU take control of the game in the first half, only to give up the first goal of the game just three minutes into the second half. Griffin Dorsey tied the game at one in the 73rdminute until Wake Forest scored the winner in golden goal overtime.
It was a hectic match, and there were a lot of positives and negatives to take away from Indiana’s first match of the season in a tough road environment.
Here’s three takeaways from today’s match.
Freshman Jack Maher impressed on his Indiana debut tonight, playing all 107 minutes alongside senior Timmy Mehl at the center back position. It’s tough to replace a MAC Herman Trophy finalist, but Maher did a solid job against Wake Forest. He was a big reason why IU was so dominant in the first half, not letting the Demon Deacons register a single shot.
The freshman was amongst a group of candidates for the starting center back spot, but his performance in training was good enough for head coach Todd Yeagley to give him the nod. There were only a few times where he was caught out of position, and his recovery into dangerous situations made him look like a seasoned veteran.
Senior left back Andrew Gutman spoke highly of Maher during training earlier this week when asked about his first impressions of the Caseyville, Illinois, native. The impressive performance is a good sign moving forward and will help the transition from the Grant Lillard era.
The strength of the midfield was tested tonight against the trio of Bruno Lapa, Brad Dunwell and Joey DeZart. The Demon Deacons showed why they are a top-five team coming into the season, and a big part of their success Friday night was through possession within the middle of the pitch.
Seniors Austin Panchot, Francesco Moore and Jeremiah Gutjahr looked good in the first game of the season and the first game for Gutjahr in nearly 11 months. Wake Forest’s Dapa was involved with the game-winning goal, and he along with his midfield compatriots, were able to break down IU’s defense in critical moments.
The striker position was an area of concern heading into 2018, and sophomore Justin Rennicks was the one to lead the line for the Hoosiers against Wake Forest. Rennicks had an injury-plagued 2017, but his teammates always spoke highly of him throughout last season.
Fellow sophomore Thomas Warr entered the game for Rennicks at times, but neither of the two registered a shot all night. Rennicks was dispossessed many times and struggled to get a significant flow offensively.
Freshman striker Ryan Wittenbrink did not feature tonight after a stellar high school career. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Yeagley switch things up against North Carolina on Sunday if IU struggles to score early on. The Hoosiers still need to find a solution to a goal-scoring hole left by Mason Toye, and it still needs to be seen who the replacement will be.
- Jeremiah Gutjahr had a nice return to the lineup after missing a large chunk of 2017 with a torn ACL. Gutjahr played all 107 minutes and looked comfortable playing with Francesco Moore and Austin Panchot again in the midfield.
- Griffin Dorsey scored the first goal of 2018 for the Hoosiers after a one-touch finish from an Andrew Gutman low cross. The pinpoint accuracy into the top right corner was too much for Deacon goalkeeper Andreu Cases Mundet.
- Senior Cory Thomas didn’t get the start at left wing tonight, but he did play 70 significant minutes after coming on early in the first half. His creativity and passing were nice refreshers for the Hoosiers, who were struggling to spread the field against Wake Forest’s formation.
- A.J. Palazzolo made his IU debut tonight after coming on in the overtime period. He played seven minutes and slotted into more of a defensive role after coming on for Rennicks.
- The Hoosiers had not given up two goals in a game all of 2017. It will be interesting to see how the team, particularly the defense, will bounce back against another tough team in North Carolina on Sunday.
- Wake Forest now lead the all-time series 3-2 against IU.