The Hoosiers are officially back in the Elite Eight after seemingly controlling the Air Force Falcons for the entirety of 90 minutes on their way to a 2-0 win.
Indiana looks to be playing its best soccer of the season. With Justin Rennicks back from international duties, the full strength Hoosiers opened up the field and created various type of chances.
Air Force came into the match with one of the best attacks in the nation, and it were neutralized by a calm Indiana backline. Air Force got forward well, but never created much in the final third as Trey Muse only needed to make one save.
Here’s three takeaways from Sunday’s match:
Trevor Swartz is playing the best soccer of his career
With five assists in the NCAA Tournament so far, and 15 on the season, there is no player that looks more in form on this team than Swartz. As a facilitator, every time he has the ball in space it is an opportunity to see something special. In the 6th minute of the match, Swartz made a run down the flank, sent a curling ball into the box just out of the reach of Rennicks, but right to the feet of Austin Panchot for the first goal of the game.
HALF | Indiana 2, Air Force 0@austin_panchot & @TimmyMehl find the back of the net in the first half for Indiana. @trevor_swartz picks up two assists and now has 5 in the NCAA Tournament. #iums pic.twitter.com/amA4KNkNou
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) November 25, 2018
Less than 15 minutes later, Swartz took a set piece from the right side of the box from an incredibly difficult angle. He then curled it towards the far post at a perfect pace for Timmy Mehl’s head. Mehl got the goal, but the set piece was so well placed that it could have gone in without Mehl’s deflection.
Swartz’s 15 assists now put him at third all-time for assists in a season at Indiana. Swartz’s second assist helped him pass Todd Yeagley and pull him within three of the record. His 15 assists are the most for Indiana since 1989.
Indiana’s midfield looked fantastic
Indiana’s biggest concern coming into the match was going to be Tucker Bone. Bone is one of the best midfielders in the nation, and the Hoosier midfield contained him. Francesco Moore was especially strong defensively, but only made it through two thirds of the match. Moore left the game in the 60th minute with what appears to be a lower body injury. Moore pulled up without any contact and his injury will be one to watch moving forward.
Even without him in the match, Bone couldn’t take advantage. Buckmaster and Gutjahr were in front of him throughout.
This is the best form of the season for Indiana, and the team knows that. There is no hesitation from anyone on this team, and it’s scary. Last week, Andrew Gutman said you don’t want to be a team in Indiana’s way.
He’s right. This looks as poised as ever and it’s noticeable in practice and in the match.