Resiliency has been a key trait of the IU women’s soccer team this season, and it was on full display Thursday night against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
After the Buckeyes scored two goals in four minutes to tie the match 2-2 in the second half, it appeared as if the Hoosiers had lost control of the game. However, a pair of substitutes combined to provide IU with the game’s winning moment.
Sophomore defender Caroline Dreher found freshman midfielder Sydney Kilgore with a cross into the Ohio State penalty box that Kilgore volleyed into the net in the 73rd minute. Kilgore’s second goal of the season stood as the match-winner as IU, 6-7-3 (3-3-2), defeated Ohio State, 9-5-2 (3-3-2), 3-2 in a game critical to IU’s Big Ten postseason hopes.
“Caroline played me through with a great long ball, and I just had good timing at the front post,” Kilgore said. “It’s awesome to contribute. Just being a freshman and being able to make a difference is important, especially late in the season when these points matter.”
Momentum shifted on countless occasions between the Buckeyes and Hoosiers at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, although it was the visitors who gained the upper-hand early on.
IU opened the scoring in the seventh minute through freshman midfielder Chandra Davidson. Davidson was on hand to score on a rebound shot after sophomore forward Mykayla Brown had her shot saved by Ohio State junior goalkeeper Megan Geldernick.
Following the IU goal, Ohio State went on the offensive and enjoyed most of the possession and goal-scoring opportunities prior to halftime, but IU freshman goalkeeper Sarah L’Hommedieu was only forced into two first half saves.
“We were outshot by Ohio State 19-8 tonight, but only six of their shots were on goal,” Berbary said. “I thought we did a great job of capitalizing on our chances.”
It was this kind of wasteful offense by Ohio State that allowed IU to double its lead in the 62nd minute.
Freshman defender Meghan Scott delivered a corner kick deep into the Ohio State penalty box, finding unmarked freshman midfielder Allison Jorden. Jorden guided the ball into a gaping net with her head to give IU a 2-0 advantage.
Within six minutes, though, the Hoosier lead had been erased. Junior midfielder Emma Firenze scored from a low cross in the 64th minute to pull one back for the Buckeyes before senior forward and leading scorer Lindsay Agnew equalized in the 68th minute.
“They pushed their three forwards a bit higher after going down two goals, and I felt we got stretched in the midfield,” Berbary said.
Soon after this defensive lapse, Berbary made the decision to put both Dreher and Kilgore into the match, a choice that ultimately won the game for the Hoosiers.
A late surge by the Buckeyes nearly forced extra time, with sophomore midfielder Sarah Roberts striking the crossbar in the 77th minute. However, the Buckeyes’ best chance to equalize came with mere seconds left on the scoreboard.
Senior forward Nichelle Prince drove into the IU penalty box and created a look on goal, but L’Hommedieu dove to her right to collect the shot and seal the win.
Now with 11 points from eight Big Ten games, IU will travel to Maryland, 3-12-1 (1-7-0), on Sunday afternoon with a chance to further its hold on a place in the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament.
“We are in a position where we are in the driver’s seat of our own destiny,” Berbary said. “The three points we got are huge, but we have to keep our head.”
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