The IU men’s soccer season had an abrupt end in the College Cup, falling to Maryland 2-0 in Santa Barbara, California.
The Hoosiers were riding a 12-match unbeaten streak prior to that game, and they were in arguably the best form of the 2018 season. They outscored opponents 7-0 in the NCAA Tournament in matches leading up to the College Cup against Connecticut, Air Force and Notre Dame.
But once the College Cup began, it was a different story for Indiana. The Hoosiers had taken down the Terrapins once during the regular season in Bloomington and another time in the Big Ten Tournament in penalty kicks.
Although the season didn’t pan out the way the Hoosiers hoped, 2018 was still a successful season overall.
Let’s get into some talking points that I’ve broken down in our Year in Review.
Undefeated at Home
The Hoosiers were one of the best teams in the nation while playing at home this season. They boasted a 12-0 record at home and outscored opponents 28-3 across all competitions. IU Coach Todd Yeagley and various players emphasized the advantage that the Hoosiers have at home throughout the season, and it showed when looking back at how dominant they truly were.
In almost every home match, Indiana outplayed its competition. Its biggest wins in terms of scoring were against VCU and Evansville, where the Hoosiers won both matches 5-0, and Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament, where the Hoosiers won 4-0.
“I wanted to be with them, I wanted to jump with the crowd.”
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) December 1, 2018
For the second year in a row, Indiana had the chance to advance to the College Cup in front of its home crowd. The Hoosiers were arguably outplayed in the first half of its Elite Eight match against Notre Dame, but second half adjustments saw them take a 1-0 victory over the Fighting Irish.
There weren’t many teams better at home than the Hoosiers. Out of every team that made it to the College Cup, Indiana had the best home record. Aside from that, the only team that came close was Kentucky, which was 12-1 in front of the Lexington faithful.
Set Piece Kings
Senior midfielder Trevor Swartz finished the season as the NCAA leader in assists with a total of 16. A lot of those came off of free kicks and set pieces in dangerous areas. Swartz was able to put the ball in perfect spots throughout the season, and he was in the best form of his life during a stretch in the middle of the season.
Indiana forward @trevor_swartz now has 15 assists this season after picking up 5 in the first two games of the NCAA Tournament.
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) November 25, 2018
Senior attacker Austin Panchot was selected to take some corners near the end of the season, and he thrived over the ball as well. Indiana was a team that made opponents pay for their mistakes in the box, and there was hardly a team that was more clinical on set pieces.
Individual and Team Accolades
The team set out to complete three goals throughout the season — win the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and the national championship.
Indiana completed two of those three goals after failing to win one of them in 2017. Looking back, the 2018 team will go down as one of the most accomplished and overall best team in IU program history.
Indiana had 12 honorees. That was the most in the league. IU’s four first-team accolades were also the most in the B1G. #iums
— Josh Eastern (@JoshEastern) November 2, 2018
Senior Andrew Gutman won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and is a MAC Hermann Trophy Finalist, Sophomore Trey Muse won Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, Jack Maher won Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Yeagley won Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Four Hoosiers landed on the All-Big Ten First Team, and four more earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors.
The Hoosiers had a well-decorated season both individually and collectively. They had one of the best midfields and defenses in the country this season, which was well-seasoned with veterans in both parts of the field.
Seniors Say Goodbye
Indiana is losing eight seniors to graduation following the 2018 season, and seven of them were regular starts throughout the year. This includes the likes of Andrew Gutman, Frankie Moore, Rece Buckmaster and Jeremiah Gutjahr. All had their best seasons of their careers while at Indiana, and Austin Panchot was also becoming a lethal threat within the attack and midfield as the season went along.
Next year’s squad is going to look different — very different. Yeagley said the senior class is going to leave their mark on the program and they will be sorely missed. The Hoosiers are going to be a lot younger in 2019, and here’s going to be many new faces within the Starting XI. That doesn’t include other players who could leave college early as well.