Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley is currently in his 10th season at the helm of the men’s soccer team.
During his tenure, he has quickly helped turned the IU and Notre Dame rivalry into one of the fiercest in all of college soccer.
Since the turn of the century, IU and Notre Dame have been nearly inseparable, with the Hoosiers holding an 11-10-1 edge over the Irish in 22 contests. There’s been nothing to differentiate between the two teams that are less than 200 miles away from each other.
“Notre Dame has had a really good run here the last 10 years,” Yeagley said. “It’s always been a rivalry here with the school and the state, but now they’re consistently a top-20 team. It’s a good competitive game where both teams are honest and fair, so you won’t see anything silly off the ball.”
IU and Notre Dame have already watched each other play, even if it wasn’t against each other. Notre Dame played host the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament on the first full weekend of September. The two teams didn’t play each other but had a chance to play both Denver and Seattle with similar results.
Through four games early in the season, IU has had to go to overtime in each contest. Starting goalkeeper and fifth-year senior Sean Caulfield joked that he might have gray hairs after the season if the Hoosiers keep playing extra-time contests.
“Four straight games of overtime kind of took a toll on us, so even though we didn’t win, it was nice to get the clean sheet, the first of the year,” Caulfield said. “I think against a really good Seattle team, I think it’s a good result.”
Notre Dame has had its fair share of struggles in the early portion of the season. The Irish have given up eight goals through four games including four in their loss to Clemson.
On the opposite end, IU has lacked the ability to consistently finish good chances around the net. It is one of the key reasons the Hoosiers haven’t been able to finish matches in regulation. Yeagley expects this to have another nail-biter finish just like the two matches the two squads played last season.
It was the second time that Notre Dame left the pitch in disbelief against IU last season. In a regular-season match in September in South Bend, IU defeated Notre Dame off a controversial 93rd-minute golden goal by Justin Rennicks.
The Notre Dame players believed Rennicks’ winning goal should have been disallowed for an offside penalty. However, the ruling stood and it gave IU its fifth consecutive win in a nine-game streak in the middle of the season.
Notre Dame dealt with the loss of some key players from last year’s squad but returned one of the best attacking forwards in all the nation. Sophomore forward Jack Lynn, a native of St. Louis, is back after a freshman campaign that saw him score three goals and have three assists.
Through four games this season, Lynn already has four goals and an assist to help the Irish to a 3-1-0 start.
Yeagley knows the kind of matchup this is going to be. The two sides play similar styles of soccer and usually play closely contested games.
“Both teams are just going to go at it,” Yeagley said. “They’ll have some waves and we’ll have some waves. It’s going to come down to who has the difference makers in the key moments and who doesn’t hurt themselves. I’m really excited for my team’s challenge on Tuesday.”
Indiana and Notre Dame is simply as good as it gets in college soccer. This is the 44th meeting between the two teams and always produces one of the best environments on the season.
A win over its perennial in-state rival could prove that IU is well deserving for a spot at the top of the rankings.
“It’s why you come to a program like Indiana because you want to play these games,” Caulfield said. “These games where the stadium is packed even though it’s a Tuesday night. There’s always a little bit more of an extra edge when you play Notre Dame because they are a top-level team.”