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'That was fun:' Indiana men's soccer reaches 20th College Cup

Before Friday’s NCAA Tournament quarterfinal win vs. Notre Dame, IU coach Todd Yeagley took a walk around Jerry Yeagley Field.

He looked at the banners, looked at the sideboards and took in the sight of an empty stadium before it was filled with 5,159 people. It was a time for Yeagley to not only look at the pitch, which is something he complimented the field crew for after the match, but to reflect. Yeagley has been around the program almost his entire life. He knows the expectation and knows how important it is to keep that same level and even raise it each and every season.

Yeagley explained how each College Cup is different because they are uniquely special. But there is one thing for certain; the sideboards will need to be updated for the second straight season.

“This team is going to keep the branding crew really busy in the offseason,” Yeagley said. “The 19 College Cups is predominant, and now to see 20 – for being around this program forever, those mean a lot.”

The expectation for the 2018 Hoosiers is a national championship. The players were so close a season ago and now find themselves just 180 minutes away from potentially hoisting that trophy. Each step along the way, there has been mention of their work not being done yet. And now that talk continues. Friday night was just another step towards the bigger goal.

When Indiana reached the College Cup last season, it was the first time since 2012 to reach the national semifinals. There’s no doubt last season’s team was capable of winning it. But they didn’t. Because of that, there is a sense of revenge or unfinished business. However you want to put it, Indiana won’t stop until they finally get the job done.

“We got to win it,” Gutman said. “This was great getting to the College Cup, but we really haven’t done anything yet. All of us, this is our last chance at it. We got to win it. We’re going to do everything we can to win it this year and make up for what happened last year.”

While Friday’s 1-0 win over Notre Dame may not have been the most dominant performance of the season, the Hoosiers still found a way to get the job done. That’s a trait of a champion. At a place like Indiana with so much history, it’s not easy to break records. Yet, this year’s team has found a way to keep pushing that boundary.

Since becoming the head coach in 2010, Yeagley has taken the Hoosiers to now three College Cups. His lone title came in 2012. At a program with so much history, it’s hard to keep that level of greatness. But for Yeagley, it’s not about keeping that level. It’s about wanting more.

“To me it’s all about pushing it,” Yeagley said. “We ask that when we recruit players, you’re coming here to push an unbelievable program farther and leave your mark. We’re in the midst of that right now with this group. With the amount of wins, with two trophies, the way they’ve done it, the story is not done yet, but they’ve taken that challenge and gone with it. That’s a big responsibility.”

Come Friday, the Hoosiers will be playing in yet another College Cup. 43 percent of all College Cups have included Indiana. Now-IU assistant coach Danny O’Rourke has called the College Cup the ‘Indiana Invitational’ because they are there so often.

Well, the Hoosiers are back again.

“When you look at the IU crest and you see the stars and you see the success and all of the banners, it gives you that sense of pride that means so much to all of us and our team feels that,” Yeagley said.

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