|Photo by Rachel Hale|
If IUPUI Head Coach had a four-leaf clover in his pocket Tuesday night, it worked. The Jaguars went into the match without a goal in over 400 minutes of match play before erupting for three goals against crosstown rival Butler. It could have been a lucky clover, or it was the raucous crowd of over 1,100 fans at “Pack the House Night” at Kuntz Memorial Stadium that pushed the Jaguars into victory.
The pitch was set by perfect soccer weather, 65 and not a cloud in the sky, for this rivalry match against the Butler Bulldogs. Fans from both schools were packed into the stands and cheered for their teams, who are both rapidly approaching the end of the season.
Butler would miss some opportunities early on set pieces. A few great through balls were left unattended for Butler to punch in, as they were either picked off by IUPUI keeper Tyler Keever or booted out of play by the Jaguar defense. The Jaguars would greatly benefit from this later.
|Photo by Rachel Hale|
IUPUI would finally get their first taste of a goal in over four matches when sophomore forward Ian Block got a hold of a beautiful through ball provided by senior forward Matt Guy. Block was able to get a touch on the ball on outside box along with Butler goalkeeper Andy Holte, but the ball would pop away from Holte, allowing Block to regain possession and earn the Jaguars a goal in the 20th minute. This would end the Jaguar goal-less streak at a depressing 456 minutes.
Block explained what was going through his mind after scoring the goal that broke the team’s scoreless streak: “I was going hard at the keeper, he dropped it, I was like ‘Oh, I’m going to put this one away.’ Once that went in, I was ecstatic.”
[See Block’s goal and other highlights at the bottom of the page!]
Just when the Jaguars were still returning their momentum in the mist of celebration from their last goal, the duo of Matt Guy and Ian Block struck once again in the 25th minute. The goal started with another assisted service from Matt Guy who played a bouncing ball into Yogi Snider who slid the ball into Block who caped the play with a sliding, horizontal shot. The ball took an awkward bounce after Ian’s touch, and Butler’s goalkeeper seemed paralyzed as he stood by as the ball went into the goal. The reaction from the keeper caused confusion to the high attendance crowd, with the only proof of a goal being the celebration of the Jaguars bench. Jaguars had pulled away early, 2-0.
Butler had a great opportunity slip away to get a goal before the end of the first half. Minutes after Block’s second goal, Butler’s Blake Layden delivered a streaming ball across the corner of Tyler Keever’s goal area but two of his teammates failed to put a touch on the ball which would have assured them their first goal of the match.
The second half of the match began with offensive fury from Butler, but they seemed to be wishing they had brought a lucky item of their own. The Bulldogs connected passes, took brilliant set pieces, and managed some terrific shot attempts, but nothing seemed to be going into the net. Their shots were missing the goal posts by as close as a whisker, but Keever continued to be a force between the pipes.
Tyler explained what kept him motivated after making multiple fantastic saves, saying, “I just had to keep my composure. Making those kinds of saves just gives me confidence and build on that, allowing me to make sure that I’m not going to get too sore all game. As long as I keep my composure, we’re fine.”
After every desperation shot taken by Butler, the ball seemed to only bounce off Keever’s gloves or take a deflection by a gaggle of players surrounding inside the box.
Senior forward Perez Agaba scored the goal that would put this match away late. IUPUI had a three on two advantage going forward, and a misplayed ball found its way towards Agaba. The Ugandan sped through the box, taking a strike from ten yards out. Another poorly played ball by Holte allowed the ball to softly roll into the back of the net, putting the game out of reach in the 80th minute.
IUPUI was finally able to get some goals on the stat sheet after what was a scoring dry spell. Coach Jacob said he, “…told the guys to be patient. It is going to come. All we need is one. When that one comes, then the flood gates would open.”
And open they surely did. IUPUI grabbed its first win since their season opener against Liberty College. Butler had been shut out in a match only one time this season giving IUPUI an idea of what they were up against.
Coach Jacob spoke following the game about the Bulldogs performance. “Don’t take it away from Butler, they are a good attacking team. We knew that it was going to happen, but we knew we were going to get ours.”
The Jaguars hope to retain its scoring ways and strong defensive play Saturday afternoon, as they take on the University of Missouri-Kansas City Roos at Kuntz Stadium. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.
Butler 0 0 - 0
IUPUI 2 1 - 3
Butler -- None
IUPUI -- Block, Ian (20') from Guy, Matt, and (25') from Guy, Matt and Snider, Yogi; Agaba, Perez (80') from Snider, Yogi
Butler -- None
IUPUI -- Keyler, Greg (27')
Courtesy IUPUIJags.com and Hometown Sports