IU introduces their opponents Pittsburgh within the School Cup semi-finals Sport
BLOOMINGTON – Indiana made it to the 21st College Cup in school history through a formula of defense, goalkeeper, and timed goals from various players during the NCAA tournament.
The Hoosiers have the opportunity to battle for a national title against a well-known opponent, Pittsburgh, in the national semifinals at WakeMed Field in Cary, NC (8:30 p.m. ESPNU) on Friday night.
Pittsburgh coach Jay Vidovich played one season at IU under IU coach Todd Yeagley’s father, Jerry Yeagley, in 1978 before retiring from college football at Ohio Wesleyan.
“I was Coach Yeagley’s experiment on the east coast,” said Vidovich, an eminent high school soccer player from New Canaan, Connecticut. “One year there and I was, came in and it was a great team …
“I wasn’t good enough for the program, but as you know, Coach Yeagley is the master and maestro and everything else and you still make me feel like family to this day. He always did that when I moved out. “
Vidovich, who coached Wake Forest to a national title in 2007, took over in Pittsburgh in 2016 and turned a team that won just two games in its first season into a national title contender. The Panthers compete at 16: 3 on Friday evening.
“We had a vision in mind as we went forward,” said Vidovich. “The goal wasn’t the Final Four and the national championship per se because we can run our business in a national way. Can we train Can we develop our players further? Can we demand the highest level of student athlete from them as they do their business on and off the field? And that’s been the impetus since we’ve been here. “
Indiana’s dominance has now lasted more than 40 years. The Hoosiers haven’t won a national title since 2012 but have made three College Cups in the past four seasons. IU (11-1-2) have recorded nine failures this season, facing a team from Pittsburgh who have scored 13 goals in their first three NCAA tournament games. Second midfielder Valentin Noel is Pittsburgh’s biggest goal threat with 14 goals at team height.
“They are an absolute competitor as they show so we have to be really good on Friday,” said Yeagley.
Yeagley said this year’s IU squad wasn’t their most explosive team but has found various ways to win over the season.
“Sure, this team is very capable, but it’s very well built in the middle of the field,” said Yeagley. “We have people who can change the game on the wings. We have a great goalkeeper, a strong spine and a goalscorer and these ingredients have proven to be very important to us in many of our title runs. “
Some other interesting storylines include a regular season game between Pittsburgh and Indiana where the Hoosiers bounced back from 2-0 and won 3-2 in double overtime to open the 2019 season.
“They have some familiar faces with their team in 19 and what a great game it was,” said Yeagley. “A kind of story made up of two halves. They came out very hot and got a couple on us and what a great comeback win for this group and knowing how young we were we are very young. 19 we had a returning starter at this point in the season, so there were so many new faces. “
Another interesting story was IU junior defender Nyk Sessock, a transfer from Pittsburgh who started 32 games under Vidovich for the Panthers from 2018-19.
“He has some insight into some of their players that we would of course talk to them about,” said Yeagley. “But the fact that we played them 19 helps with that in my opinion. Nyk has a lot of friends on Pitt and he’s very popular on our team. He’s just a great young man and we just want him to go out and enjoy it and obviously not overthink the opponent. “
BEZERRA MAC HERMANN FINALIST
IU’s sophomore striker Victor Bezerra was named one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the best player in college football. The Big Ten attacker of the year, Bezerra has scored 12 goals and received three assists for a team high of 28 points in the season.
Bezerra has so far scored one goal and one assist in the NCAA tournament play. Yeagley said Bezerra struggled with a mild fever from a tooth infection during the tournament but was also brought to her knees by opposing defenses aimed at stopping him during the postseason game.
Bezerra, goalkeeper Roman Celentano and injured Redshirt defender Spencer Glass were named All-Americans by the United Soccer Coaches Association on Thursday.