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Justin Rennicks hoping to open "floodgates" after scoring first career goal

Pressure is a concept that hasn’t gotten to sophomore forward Justin Rennicks.

Replacing a ten-goal scorer in Mason Toye can be a daunting task for some. But according to head coach Todd Yeagley, that burden isn’t something that has gotten to Rennicks. He’s been the feature striker for IU thus far and coming into Friday’s match, had yet to score.

That situation changed in the 23rd minute Friday against VCU. Yeagley said his goal was a great example of his athleticism, his finishing ability and what he can provide as a striker.

“That open field, athletic play is something we’ve tried to stress with him,” Yeagley said. “I thought he really played a good game outside of that. A goal is really important for any attacker. I think he felt some weight off his shoulders a little bit.”

A night like Friday has been a long time coming for the Hamilton, Massachusetts native. His freshman year was cut short due to a foot injury. Rennicks did contribute down the stretch, but was battling fitness and wasn’t able to make a sizable impact.

Rennicks has a chance to be a special player for IU, now that he's healthy. He’s spent time with the U20 USMNT and was highly touted coming out of high school. Rennicks has started every game thus far. It can sometimes help strikers to just see the ball hit the back of the net. This could be the spark Rennicks needs to get rolling.

“I’ve been waiting for it,” Rennicks said. “Feels so good to get my first one. I can’t wait to get some more.”

Getting a goal could be a bit of a weight lifted off his shoulder, Yeagley mentioned after the match. It has been a slow start for Rennicks and he mentioned that sentiment after the match. He also had to break out the back flip for his celebration.

The Hoosiers did however score five goals Friday. Because of that, there is less of a burden and reliance on a feature striker like Rennicks. Yeagley said he likes to see that balance, especially when there are five different goal scorers.

“We strive for that,” Yeagley said. “We all would love a 15, 20 goal scorer, but the realities of that player not showing up on the day or takes a knock, the team takes a deep breath and goes ‘well, what next?’ We can get restart goals, we can get our outside backs on the board, our central midfield players creating chances, our attacking players, that’s what you want. As a coach and a program, that’s a really good sign.”

There is no question that when a striker like Rennicks is scoring goals consistently, it helps the team. He said he hopes this opens the floodgates. It would add another dangerous dimension to an already menacing attack.

Yeagley put it simply.

“He’s a kid that wants to be really good,” Yeagley said. “We’re still just five into the season, so getting Justin a goal tonight will go a long way. As long as he’s creating chances for us, whether that’s unbalancing and finding guys, making the pass leading to the goal, that’s fine. We need him to be productive in the final third.”

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