LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After being pushed and shoved all night by the Louisville Cardinals, IU didn’t retaliate with its own physical play. Instead, the Hoosiers got their revenge on the scoreboard.
With IU going up one goal in the 12th minute and Louisville only allowing three goals at home the entire season, the home squad was quickly put on the ropes. The Cardinals would tie the game up at the beginning of the second half, but just 52 seconds later their play backfired.
Senior midfielder Tanner Thompson was taken down at the top of the penalty box to set up an IU penalty kick. Sophomore midfielder Trevor Swartz connected on the kick, and the Hoosiers held on, even as the Cardinals continued their physicality.
“I wouldn’t say there were any dirty ones tonight, but they were physical, and there were some challenges I thought our guys could have got rattled on,” IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. “I always feel like our group is as disciplined as any team in the country when it comes to not retaliating.”
The eventual game-winning goal off the penalty kick came after a no-call on senior midfield Phil Fives late in the first half. A Louisville defender shoved Fives to the turf in the penalty box after Fives made a run toward the right side of the net with the ball.
Even though the penalty went uncalled, IU didn’t lose its composure.
It wasn’t IU’s first physical matchup of the year.
Against Stanford on Sept. 4 IU played another physical battle against the reigning national champions.
Junior defender Grant Lillard was issued a red card in that match, but the Hoosiers were still able to play the Cardinal to a scoreless draw.
On Tuesday night Lillard said he knew what was best for the team and stayed focused on the match.
“I’m the only red card that I think we’ve ever had in my whole entire time here, and that was my first card in my entire life,” Lillard said with a chuckle. “We’re pretty disciplined here. We know what the line is and when not to cross it. We work together, and we don’t get frustrated. We believe in each other, and we’re a confident group.”
The confidence the Hoosiers have in one another went down to the wire when Fives was involved in another physical, but heads-up play for the Hoosiers.
With a little more than 10 seconds remaining, the senior dove head-first into an incoming pass from the Cardinals near the top of the Hoosier penalty box. Fives was hit hard on the play, resulting in a yellow card for Louisville junior defender Tim Kubel, as Fives held his head while lying on the pitch.
Yeagley said Fives’ play won IU the game.
It was apparent the Cardinal defender would likely hit him, but as a result of the play the Hoosiers gained a free kick that iced the victory.
“It’s just another learning example for our team,” Yeagley said. “If we do retaliate or lose our composure, then we might get hit on a free kick or maybe we get a second yellow, and we’re down a man. Just a good reminder on how important that is.”