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Captain Jack Maher Saves Indiana

Sophomore defender Jack Maher wrapped his arm around freshman forward Herbert Endeley before taking the field for the second overtime period Monday afternoon.

His message: “Go do it again.” 

Bryant Pratt embraces Jack Maher after Indiana’s 1-0 win over the Cruz Azul U-20’s last spring in Mexico.

Endeley played hero Friday night against Pittsburgh with a golden goal in double overtime. On Monday, it was Maher’s turn to wear the hero’s cape as his 104th minute goal gave the Hoosiers 2-1 victory over UCLA.

“Words can’t really describe what it’s like to get your first collegiate goal,” Maher said. “It was one of those ‘see ball, kick ball’ moments. You don’t even know where it is until, bam, you see it and I’m lucky to just put it away.” 

Indiana needed nearly 14-and-a-half hours before it could kick off the 19th edition of a storied rivalry with the Bruins. Rain and lightning helped delay the final game of the Adidas/IU Credit Union classic until 10:30 a.m. Monday. 

But nearly three hours after it started Monday morning, Maher put the finishing touches on another classic in the rivalry with his goal off assists from redshirt freshman defender Daniel Munie and redshirt junior defender Spencer Glass.

As surprising as it might sound for a player who is on the preseason MAC Hermann watch list and was named a third team All-American by College Soccer News, that was only Maher’s third career point. His first was an assist Friday night against Pittsburgh.

“Jack was in the right spot, right time that we prepared for him to get there,” Glass said. “Not luck or anything, he got in there and did his job. Glad he could get his first one.” 

UCLA opened the account in the 53rd minute after a scoreless first half. Bruin midfielder Marcony Pimentel continued a productive weekend with a run and a finish that beat IU fifth-year senior goalkeeper Sean Caulfield to the near side. 

The Hoosiers responded just five minutes later with the third goal of the weekend by a freshman player. Forward Victor Bezerra picked up a loose ball from just outside the 18-yard box and fired a shot into the right corner of the net. 

“Victor, I thought was much more relaxed today,” IU Head Coach Todd Yeagley said. “You saw his sophistication and his passing and his thoughts were very good.”

IU has now played over 200 minutes in its first two matches of the season. With a young and inexperienced team, the Hoosiers are still figuring out lineups and mechanisms on the fly. IU escaped with victories both times, but it’s not something Glass wants to make a habit of.

“It shows our fitness, but hopefully in the future we can end it in regulation,” Glass said. “Whatever it takes, we’ve prepared for those mental things that aren’t going our way. If we have to put in the extra minutes, we’ll grind it out.”

Sudden death finishes are something Yeagley is very familiar with. He understands the feeling that comes with a last minute win, but also all those that are connected with a crushing defeat. For a young team, he feels like it goes along way in its development and maturity. 

“The script is so different for a new team to win one of these, and now two,” Yeagley said. “Both behind and against good teams. You would want that to happen if you could script it. You got to feel what it’s like to be down. You have to rally, you have to focus. The inventory that we have now for experience is something we could really utilize, in moments, that we need it.”

Maher admits he can finally take a breath after an opening weekend that turned out to be much longer than most expected. 

“I was pumped and so excited to get these two games underway,” Maher said. “There’s nothing like starting a college season. Now we’re here. We’re in the middle of the season and we’re making strides from here on out.”

He’s not one to be the center of attention, but for one afternoon, Jack Maher got to be the hero.

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