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Near the top of the pile
J. D. Reed
November 15, 1976
A HIGH-SCORING FRESHMAN FROM ARGENTINA BY WAY OF CHICAGO HAS INDIANA IN CONTENTION FOR THE NCAA TITLE AND HIS COACH IN LINE FOR AN OFFICE CARPET
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November 15, 1976

Near The Top Of The Pile

A HIGH-SCORING FRESHMAN FROM ARGENTINA BY WAY OF CHICAGO HAS INDIANA IN CONTENTION FOR THE NCAA TITLE AND HIS COACH IN LINE FOR AN OFFICE CARPET

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"Our strategy is to be first to the ball, particularly at midfield," says Yeagley. "Whoever controls the ball controls the game." Playing a confident 4-3-3 zone, Indiana pressed Cleveland so hard that one of its defenders batted the ball with his hand inside the penalty area, and IU scored its first goal from the resulting penalty kick at 14:09.

Six minutes later DiBernardo, who has the uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time, fired in a rebound off the goalie's hands for the second score. Seven minutes after that he took a pass at midfield. Surrounded by green shirts, he accelerated, outran three defenders and, as the goalie came out to meet him, placed a shot that surprisingly hooked in front of the goalie's knees and into a corner of the nets. Then DiBernardo sat down with a minor groin pull and his teammates scored two more goals for a 5-0 triumph.

"Until Angelo arrived, Jerry's teams had to rely on an Irish-English style of play," says Joe Ricapito, a longtime Indiana fan and the team's P.A. announcer. "That meant hard running, close defense, mid-range passes and occasional long, touchline passes to clear the defending midfield. But he never had a good scoring combination up front. Now with Angelo and a few more like him, maybe they can finesse the game more, become more South American with more touch and short passes, not running themselves to death out there to win."

Another of Yeagley's stars is Steve Burks, a senior forward and the alltime Indiana scoring leader. Burks recalls how he came to be in Bloomington. "I was playing amateur soccer in Fort Wayne and one of Coach Yeagley's assistants came up to recruit me," he says. "I never finished high school. I'd played a little soccer in Europe. I didn't even know they played it in college. So I took the equivalency test and came here to school. I wanted to go to the pros, but the coach convinced me I could do that after school. Now we'll see if he's right.

"We're a deep team but the real reason we've been doing well is mental. Yeagley can give you confidence. He uses a complicated psychology on you. When we're down 2-0 the forwards aren't afraid anymore to take chances and try to score."

Confidence is partly responsible for Indiana's new winning ways; so is Yeagley's deft recruiting and the solid style of soccer he learned growing up outside Philadelphia and playing on the West Chester State 1961 NCAA championship team. But there is more to it than that—namely, Yeagley's fierce desire to see soccer become a top sport in Bloomington. To that end he sometimes acts as if he were running a public-relations firm on the side. He has players giving soccer demonstrations around town in shopping centers. He has them selling tickets on the campus and nailing up bedsheet booster signs before important games. Burks, an art major, designs the programs. "And we're getting closer to paying our way," Yeagley reports happily about his gate receipts.

As he leans back in his chair and puts his big-time coach's tassel loafers up on the desk in the janitor's office, Jerry Yeagley envisions the playoffs ahead. At the end of the long tunnel is Philadelphia, Dec. 5, the NCAA finals. "I really don't know if we'll make it," he says. "I'm amazed at this year already. I don't know what to think. Except that I'm pretty happy about it." And he probably has not forgotten that a title on the door rates a carpet on the floor.

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