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Indiana defeats Butler 3-0: What we learned

The “Indiana Derby” wasn’t the prettiest of matches in the rivalry’s history. Indiana piled on two goals in the first half, and put the Butler Bulldogs away in the second after scoring a third.

Put simply, it was an ugly match, which saw a big brother beat down on the little one. Butler has had a rough season thus far, and the weaknesses were present throughout the match. IU won the battle in the midfield and just about everywhere else while freshman attacker Justin Rennicks put on a clinic up top.

Senior midfielder Trevor Swartz had one of his best performances of the season with two assists, including an in-swinger from a corner kick, which was met by the head of senior defender Timmy Mehl.

There was a bit to digest from the match, so here’s what we learned.

Justin Rennicks Shines 

Indiana’s starting striker might have had his best performance of the season. Sure, he scored the opener after getting his head on a bouncing Andrew Gutman cross, but it was what he did on and off the ball that impressed me the most.

Rennicks looked very confident on the ball — as he has for the majority of the season. He took on defenders aggressively in one-on-one situations, and he even took on two or more at a time as well. He also showed how high his soccer IQ is, looking for options while dribbling in tight spaces. Sophomore attacker Griffin Dorsey was able to make runs cutting to goal along the right side — more often than he’s used to.

“Ever since that first goal, he’s just been kind of building on how he’s been playing,” sophomore Spencer Glass said. “We like having him out there and giving him free reign to take people on.”

The recent play of Rennicks is encouraging for Indiana, especially this late into the season. If he can get on the scoresheet on a consistent basis for the rest of the year, IU can lean on him in big games. Momentum is huge going into postseason play like we saw last season with Mason Toye. Toye struggled late in the regular season, and his play translated into the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.

Trevor Swartz — The Assist King

Like I said earlier, Swartz had two assists on the night, and his total rose to 10 on the season — the second most in college soccer. His consistency to put dangerous balls into the box is one of the most underrated aspects to his game. On top of that, his awareness in the midfield is second to none outside of Indiana’s starting 11.

He had an increased role for most of the night as senior Frankie Moore was rested to start the game. That meant the midfield was anchored by Swartz and senior Jeremiah Gutjahr. The emphasis for that part of the pitch came down to spacing. Swartz proved that he can thrive in the midfield role even with Moore out for the majority of the match.

Depth on Display

Twenty different players featured in the Indiana Derby on Tuesday night, a season-high for the Hoosiers. Indiana kept a steady rotation throughout the match, and keeping fresh legs in the midfield was emphasized even more than usual — five midfield players were substituted in and out of the match.

The impressive thing about all of this? Indiana’s play didn’t drop off when younger and inexperienced players entered the match. It speaks volumes to IU’s depth, and it also gives a glimpse into the future of the program once this senior class exits the stage for the final time.

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