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Are good performances good enough for Indiana men's soccer?

Todd Yeagley said at halftime of Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Butler that the Hoosiers played one of their worst halves of the season.

Indiana held a two-goal advantage at halftime, but it wasn’t good enough. At least not for the high expectations of Yeagley. Butler didn’t register a shot on goal in the first 45, yet still controlled a decent amount of possession and had just one less shot than IU at the break.

Butler is a rival and the Hoosiers expected its best shot. But for an Indiana team that has been in the top five all season and is looking to make another College Cup run, good wasn’t good enough.

“I thought the first half we weren’t very sharp,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said. “We got a bit deep, our defensive communication was a bit off. It showed just with Frankie [Moore] out of the game how that domino can happen.”

Throughout large parts of the season, IU has coasted. The Hoosiers have won six games by multiple goals and have showed why they should be ranked as high as they are. But there have also been moments where it just hasn’t been good enough, at least to their standards.

The first half Tuesday and the Kentucky match are two examples. While those may be blips on the radar when looking at the bigger picture, the Hoosiers expect to be great. It comes with the territory. It also comes with a team looking for hardware a season after they were left empty handed, even after a College Cup run.

To any typical observer, you see Indiana up two goals in the first 45 minutes and the expectation is that they were dominant. But that wasn’t necessarily the case Tuesday night.

“It wasn’t a happy locker room at half,” Yeagley said. “Our players, our staff, our standards are high and even though we’re winning 2-0, we weren’t doing some simple things that we expect every game to do. It could have been three in the first half, honestly, and we still would have had the same conversation.”

The two first half goals were typical IU goals. A diving header from Justin Rennicks, assisted by Andrew Gutman, and a corner kick swung in by Trevor Swartz and headed in by Timmy Mehl. Nothing out of the ordinary for an Indiana team that scores a seemingly absurd amount of restart goals (about 24 percent, to be exact).

But Swartz mentioned that things just weren’t quite on par with how they want to play on a consistent basis. He said it’s about holding themselves to a higher standard.

“I think a lot of it was tactical,” Swartz said. “Spacing issues, especially in the midfield, we need to step a little higher. We kind of got pinned in pretty deep.”

Nothing IU did in the first 45 Tuesday was faulty. The Hoosiers still scored twice. It just wasn’t up to their standard. Rutgers and Ohio State are the next two matches upcoming for the Hoosiers. Two teams in the cellar of the Big Ten conference standings.

The Hoosiers may coast to two easy wins. That will help them to win the conference. But to get where they want to go come December, it’s about the process, the way they win and continuing to improve because the competition and the stakes will only increase.

So next time you think Indiana is dominating on the scoresheet, don’t think they are satisfied. It’s a group hungry for more.

“That was good that they recognized that the scoreline doesn’t dictate our mood,” Yeagley said. “It’s performance and the score.”

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