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Indiana Returns Solid Contingent From The 2022 Team That Advanced To The National Final

Hoosiers Came Close To A Ninth National Title Last Year. Expectations Remain HIgh In 2023.

Coach – Todd Yeagley – 14th Season
Conference – Big Ten
2022 Record – 14-4-7 overall, 3-1-4 conference
2022 National Ranking – 2nd United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News polls
Five Year Win Total
2018 – 20
2019 – 15
2020 – 12
2021 – 15
2022 – 14
Key Departures
Daniel Munie – Defender – 2021 and 2022 United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News All-American. 2021 and 2022 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Four Year starter.

Nyk Sessock – Defender – Four-year starter who appeared in 95 games with 83 starts. Was a starter as a freshman at Pittsburgh in 2018.

Herbert Endeley – Forward – Four-year starter. Appeared in 84 games with 67 starts over four seasons. Had 12 career goals and 17 career assists including 4 goals and 8 assists in 2022 season. Three-time All-Big Ten Second Team selection (2022, 2021, 2020). All Big Ten Freshman Team in 2019.

Ryan Wittenbrink – Forward – 2022 First Team All-Big East. Led Indiana in 2022 with 10 goals and 9 assists. Had 6 game-winners in 2022. Had 18 career goals with 16 career assists. Appeared in 63 matches with 24 starts over three seasons. 2022 Second Team All-North Region.

Ben Yeagley – Midfielder – Appeared in 55 games with 18 starts over three-year period.

Bryant Pratt – Goalkeeper – Pratt played in eight games in 2022 with eight starts.
2023 Outlook – The legacy at Indiana is a rich one that includes 36 consecutive berths in the NCAA Tournament, 9 consecutive seeds in the NCAA Tournament, 22 Final Fours, and 8 national championships.

What had initially looked to be a good but what some might consider underachieving 2022 season by Indiana standards turned into an impressive season when the Hoosiers played their way into the national final where they were edged by Syracuse in a game that came down to a penalty kick shootout. Prior to the NCAA Tournament the Hoosiers had an up and down season during which lapses in play on the defensive side of the ball as reflected in a 3-2 season opening loss on the road to Clemson and a 3-3 tie at home with Portland and a 2-1 loss to Ohio State in their Big Ten opener hampered their effectiveness.

First a little background information. There was a time when the teams at or near the top of powerhouse conferences tended to stay there for years. That is no longer necessarily the case. The margin for error between a win and a loss from top to bottom in Big Ten play will again be slim in 2023. Significant shifts can occur in a short period of time. It is noteworthy that Ohio State won the Big Ten Title in 2021 for the first time since 2005 and Rutgers won it in 2022 for the first time in program history.

It is reasonable to assume that an IU team that returns a solid contingent from the 2022 team supplemented by a very good USA based ten member recruiting class will again be a dominant team in 2022 and a frontrunner in Big Ten play. While that will likely prove to be the case, it is not always that simple. A lot of things have to fall into place due to the level of parity that now exists on the national scene and in the Big Ten Conference. Some things may change but you can bet the farm that the expectations and the optimism at a program like Indiana remain the same. Indiana seeks to play well enough to win the Big Ten Title and the national championship every year.

Indiana will have playmakers, athleticism, depth, and experience in 2023, a combination that should produce a lot of wins. Juniors Samuel Sarver (4g, 4a) and Tommy Mihalic (7g, 2a), a 2022 All-Big Ten Second Team selection, and seniors Maouloune Goumballe (1g, 2a) and Karsen Henderlong (2g, 2a) are among the returning players who will be called upon to replace the offensive punch that departed with 2022 All-Big Ten Team selections Ryan Wittenbrink (10g, 9a) who had six game-winners and Herbert Endeley (4g, 6a). Senior Nate Ward (1g, 0a) and sophomore Luka Bezerra (1g, 2a) are among other returning players who should add punch to the offense.

Junior Patrick McDonald (2g, 2a), a two-year starter, sophomore Jack Wagoner (0g, 2a), a 2022 All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection, and redshirt senior Quinten Helmer (2g, 1a) return to set the pace in the middle of the park.

The backline will require some reloading due to the loss of center back Daniel Munie and right back Nyk Sessock who were four year starters and stalwarts. Both are the type of players who are not easily replaced. However senior center back Joey Maher (2g, 0a), a three-year starter, and senior left back and multi-year starter Brett Bebej (3g, 1a) return to provide a solid foundation upon which to reload. Senior Jansen Miller is among other returning backs who should be in the mix. Senior transfer Hugo Bacharach, a three-year starter and All-Northeast Conference First Team member is among the newcomers with the potential to have an immediate impact in the back. JT Harms who was the starter in goal last year with a 1.02 goals against average is back to give the Hoosiers an experienced shot stopper between the pipes.

Indiana came very close to securing the program’s ninth national championship last year. The Hoosiers showed a lot of grit during their breathtaking and clutch run to the national final last year. Whether they can sustain that momentum remains to be seen. Indiana’s ceiling in 2023 will hinge in large part on their ability to sort out and consistently settle into the balance on both sides of the ball that enabled them to prevail in the close contests down the homestretch last year.
Newcomers – Todd Yeagley stated, “I’m really excited to have this group of young men join us here at Indiana. We have great versatility with this group. We have every line of the field covered. Some (will be) immediate contributors, and some others might take time but, overall, great culture, great kids and excellent students. We think all of them are going to have a big impact here at Indiana.”

Hugo Bacharach – Defender – Benicassim, Spain – Colegio La Magdalena – Bacharach is a senior transfer from Fairleigh Dickinson where he played for three years and was a three-time All-Northeast Conference First-Team selection. He was named the 2022 NEC Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Northeast Region First-Team selection.

Saed Anabtawi – Goalkeeper – Fort Wayne, Indiana – Fort Wayne Canterbury School – Enrolled during spring season. Recorded 27 career shutouts with 294 saves at Fort Wayne Canterbury School. Two-time United Soccer Coaches High School All-American.

Alex Barger – Forward – Naperville, Illinois – Naperville North High School – Named the 2021-2022 Gatorade Illinois Boys Player of the Year as a junior. Played for Sockers FC Chicago and Evolution SC. Had 43 career goals and 42 career assists at Naperville North High School. Two-time United Soccer Coaches High School All-American.

EJ Dreher – Midfielder – Valparaiso, Indiana – Valparaiso High School – Enrolled during spring season. Played for Indiana Elite FC. Four-year letterman at Valparaiso High School where he scored 30 goals and contributed 34 assists. Also played basketball.

Josh Maher – Defender – Caseyville, Illinois – Althoff Catholic – Named to St. Louis City SC’s first team during the 2022 MLS Next Pro season. Played for St. Louis City SC Academy U-17 team and Saint Louis Scott Gallagher academy. Team captain.

Clay Murador – Forward – Aledo, Texas – Aledo High School – Four-year letterwinner in soccer at Aledo High. Three-sport athlete and letterwinner in high school playing soccer, football and track. Had 44 career goals and 15 career assists at Aledo High in soccer. Played for Dallas Texans.

Collins Oduro – Forward – Bibiani, Ghana – The Phelps School – 2022 Philadelphia prep player of the year. Had 39 goals season in 2022 at Phelps School. Played club soccer for the Right to Dream Academy. Team captain.

Logan Oliver – Midfielder – Baltimore, Maryland – YSC Academy – Played for Philadelphia Union U17 team which won the MLS Next Cup title in 2022. Called up to play with Philadelphia Union in MLS NEXT Pro.

Justin Shreffler – Midfielder – Westlake, Ohio – Westlake High School – 2022 United Soccer Coaches All-American at Westlake High. Four-year varsity letterwinner with 46 career goals and 30 career assists. Played for Spire FC.

Lucas Wolthers – Forward – Hendersonville, Tennessee – Merrol Hyde Magnet School – Played with Nashville SC in 2021-2022 season. During the 2020-2021 season had 43 goals and 11 assists playing with Tennessee United Soccer Club.

Picture from Indiana University Athletics

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Posted in 2023 Team Reviews

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