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Indiana 2016 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – Indiana University
Conference – Big Ten
Coach – Todd Yeagley (7th Season)

Background – Indiana was 13-5-3 overall last year with a 4-3-1 mark in conference play. The Hoosiers had signature wins over South Florida, St. Louis, Louisville, and Connecticut. They were awarded the number sixteen seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the third round of play.

Tanner Thompson was named an All-American in 2015 by both the NSCAA and College Soccer News. He was also named the 2015 Big Ten Midfielder of the Year. Thompson, forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen and defender Grant Lillard were named to the All-Big Ten First Team. Defender Andrew Gutman was named a 2015 All-Big Ten Second Team selection. Gutman and midfielder Francesco Moore were named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Thompson, Hollinger-Janzen, and Lillard were named to the NSCAA All-Midwest Region First Team while Gutman was named to the All-Midwest Region Third Team.  

Indiana has earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament a total of forty times including the past twenty-nine consecutive seasons. The Hoosiers have advanced to the College Cup (Final Four) eighteen times and have won eight national championships with the last one taking place in 2012. They also have earned a national seed in the NCAA Tournament for eleven times in the past thirteen years.

The Hoosiers are among the most successful college soccer programs in the country as reflected in the fact that they reached another milestone in 2015 when they secured their 700th win in the history of the program becoming one of only five schools that have accomplished that feat.

Indiana began playing men's soccer at the Division I level in 1973. Since then, no team has a higher winning percentage, appeared in more College Cups or won more games.

Offense – The Hoosiers have gaps to plug due to the graduation of forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen (8g, 5a) and midfielder Matt Foldesy (2g, 1a) who were both three year starters. Hollinger-Janzen led IU in scoring in 2015 and was among the top point producers in the Big Ten Conference. They also will be without forwards Mat Foldesy (2g, 1a) and Kyle Sparks (1g, 2a) due to graduation. 

Sophomores Cory Thomas and Jorden Kleyn and junior transfer Rashad Hyacenth from Belmont look to be among the the most likely candidates to power the attack up-top in 2016. Thomas saw action in five contests last year while Kleyn made seven appearances. Both are unknown commodities in that neither has yet to find the back of the net while wearing an IU uniform. Hyacenth, who was an All-Horizon League Second Team selection last year, is a proven commodity who could be a difference maker but it remains to be seen whether he can be as productive in the Big Ten as he was in the Horizon League.  

Attacking senior midfielder Tanner Thompson (3g, 9a) is a pace setter who will also be counted upon to add an additional dimension to the offense. Redshirt senior Phil Fives (3g, 1a) and sophomores Jerimiah Gutjahr (0g, 1a), Austin Panchot (2g, 0a) and defensive midfielder Francesco Moore are among other returning midfielders who should play key roles. Senior Richard Ballard (1g, 0a), sophomore Rees Wedderburn and redshirt sophomore Trevor Swartz will also be in the hunt for a greater role in the midfield in 2015 and potential breakout seasons. . 

Defense – If everyone stays healthy, few opposing offenses will have an answer for Indiana's defense.

Last year the Hoosiers held opponents to a total of only sixteen goals. They should be stronger in 2016. The entire backline of junior center back Grant Lillard (4g, 5a), seniors Billy McConnell (1g, 4a) and Derek Creviston (1g, 1a) and sophomore left back Andrew Gutman (1g, 1a) return. Redshirt sophomore Tim Mehl is among other returning backs who will seek to up their playing time in 2016.

Senior Colin Webb, who has been the starter in goal for the past two seasons, returns to give the Hoosiers a talented and experienced presence between the pipes. Last year Webb had a 0.72 goals against average while posting a total of ten shutouts. Defenders A.J. Palazzolo and Spencer Glass are among the newcomers who should compete for minutes in the rotation in 2016. 

Newcomers – Four Star Recruiting Class 

Coach Yeagley stated, "We are very excited about our incoming class. We are bringing in a talented group with great character and passion. Our incoming class helps fill important positional needs heading into next fall. Blending our strong group of returners with this incoming class will create an exciteing product for all fans to enjoy."

Ian Black – Forward – Dublin, Ohio – Deblin-Jerome High School – NSCAA All-American.  First-Team All State. First Team Ohio Central District for three years. Played club for Ohio U-18 Green. 

Will Eslinger – Defender – Highlands Ranch, Colorado – Mountain Vista High School – Played for Colorado Rush Academy. ODP Region IV Team member in 2011. Team captain of Colorado Ruish. 

Issac Friendt – Forward – Andover, Minnesota – Andover High School – Played for three years in the U.S. Soccer Academy Development Academy. 

Spencer Glass – Defender – Fort Wayne, Inidiana – Carroll HIgh School – Ranked by College Soccer News as the number 92 ranked player in the class of 2016. Played for the Indiana Fire Academy. Played with the Chicago Fire. 

Drew Nuelle – Goalkeeper – Saint Louis, Missouri – De Smet Jesuit – Played for St. Louis Scott Gallagher Academy.

A.J. Palazzolo – Defender – Saint Louis, Missouri – Christian Brothers College High School – Ranked by College Soccer News as the number 46 player in the class of 2016. 2015 NSCAA National HIgh School Player of the Year. Played for the U.S. Men's National Team. 2015 NSCAA HIgh School All-American. 2015 Missouri Player of the Year.  

Prognosis for 2016 – Bloomington will be a tough stop for opposing teams in 2016. Nine starters return from the 2015 team. In addition, IU boasts potential first-round drafts picks in midfielder Tanner Thompson and center back Grant Lillard.

The defense should be solid with the entire backline returning led by Lillard and anchored by senior Colin Webb who has been the starter between the pipes for the past two seasons. Sophomore back Andrew Gutman is a budding star.

The Indiana roster will have a nice blend of youth and experience. Expectations are always high at IU. There are plenty of reasons to believe that Indiana will be a very good team in 2016. Just how competitive they will be likely hinges on two factors. The first is the emergence of a go-to goal scorer or two up-top and the ability of the midfield led by Thompson to add an additional dimension to the attack. The second is whether or not the sophomore leap is a big one for Cory Thomas, Jordan Kleyn, Jerimiah Gutjahr, Austin Panchot, Francesco Moore, Rece Buckmaster and Andrew Gutman.

If everything falls into place, Indiana has the potential to make a serious impact in 2016 in both the Big Ten Conference and in the NCAA Tournament.  


Posted in 2016 Team Reviews

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