Facing a 2-0 deficit only 14 minutes into Sunday’s match against No. 24 Rutgers, IU needed an offensive spark.
Enter freshman forward Macy Miller.
Miller came into the game in the 19th minute and provided the boost of energy the Hoosiers needed. After being on the field for only 13 minutes, Miller got the ball just past the halfway line, darted toward the Rutgers defense and dribbled in between two defenders on her way to a goal.
Miller was eventually fouled in the box and earned IU a penalty kick, which resulted in its first of two goals in a thrilling 2-2 extra time draw with Rutgers.
“It’s such a good feeling for us, such a good confidence booster,” Miller said. “We believe in ourselves, and we are confident.”
IU, 5-7-3 overall and 2-3-2 in Big Ten play, picked up a pair of important points this weekend against two opponents that made the Final Four in last season’s NCAA Tournament. IU drew against No. 13 Penn State 1-1 on Thursday night at Bill Armstrong Stadium before securing a comeback draw Sunday.
However, Rutgers, 9-2-3 overall with a 4-1-2 mark in conference, appeared set for a big victory. Senior forward Madison Tiernan scored on a rebound shot in the 10th minute to give the visitors the lead before senior midfielder Tori Prager scored on a stunning 25-yard strike past freshman goalkeeper Sarah L’Hommedieu to double Rutgers’ advantage.
This was the ninth time this season the opposition scored first against the Hoosiers, which IU Coach Amy Berbary said concerns her.
“It’s kind of been our Achilles’ heel all year,” Berbary said. “When are we going to be the ones to put our foot on the gas to start the game? But our bench was able to stay locked in.”
Miller had a big effect on the outcome of the game by earning IU its first penalty kick of the season. Senior defender Marissa Borschke took the penalty kick and placed the ball into the lower right corner of the net to bring IU within one in the 32nd minute.
“I was trying to do whatever I could to help my team,” Miller said. “I’m so happy for Marissa to be able to score.”
The Hoosier comeback was completed nine minutes later by freshman midfielder Sydney Kilgore. After sophomore forward Cassidy Blacha saw her shot saved by Scarlet Knights goalkeeper Alana Jimenez, Kilgore was on hand to bury the rebound in the empty net and send the Hoosiers to halftime tied 2-2.
“I was so excited to score,” Kilgore said. “Cassidy had a great shot, and I was just there for the rebound. It was awesome.”
The Scarlet Knights were thwarted by L’Hommedieu on eight occasions during the match, and none was bigger than in the 75th minute.
Rutgers was presented with a penalty kick opportunity of its own after L’Hommedieu tripped an attacking player in the penalty box, but the freshman stood tall and saved the ensuing shot from senior midfielder Jennifer Andresen.
“It was absolutely huge for Sarah to save that,” Berbary said.
Both teams struck the crossbar in the closing stages of the match as they pushed for all three points in the conference standings, as Rutgers’ Taylor Aylmer and IU’s Maya Piper were each denied by the goalpost.
While it took two comeback performances for IU to secure points this weekend against tough opposition, Berbary said she never doubted her team’s ability to get the job done.
“I knew we were going to have a chance in both games and I thought we had a chance to win today,” Berbary said. “We were resilient, and I’m just proud to come out of this weekend with two points.”
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