No. 13 Penn State had eight times as many shots on goal, double the number of total shots and over triple the amount of corner kicks as IU on Thursday night.
However, after 110 minutes of soccer, there was nothing separating the two teams on the scoreboard at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The Hoosiers were able to hold the defending national champion Nittany Lions to a 1-1 draw after extra time.
The result provides a major boost to IU’s hopes of finishing in the top eight in the Big Ten standings and qualifying for the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament. It was also the first time IU recorded at least a point against a ranked opponent since a 2-0 victory over No. 20 Michigan State in 2009.
“We just fought, we just grinded it out,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “We are just all together. We don’t have just one kid who is going to perform each night, we have a bunch of those, and I thought we really did that tonight.”
While IU, 5-7-2 overall and 2-3-1 in the Big Ten, dominated periods of the match, they found themselves down a goal after eight minutes. Penn State junior forward Frannie Crouse was on the receiving end of a one-touch pass from junior forward Megan Schafer and slotted the ball across goal and past IU freshman goalkeeper Sarah L’Hommedieu to open the scoring.
The goal was Crouse’s ninth of the season and appeared to signal that IU was in for a long night defensively. But the Hoosiers recovered defensively and held firm for the remaining 102 minutes of game action.
“We stuck to our game plan and it was a great team effort,” senior defender Marissa Borschke said. “We defended every set piece to the best of our abilities to try and just hit it out. We were in it to fight the entire time.”
As IU grew into the game defensively, chances presented themselves at the other end of the pitch. Freshman midfielder Allison Jorden sent a header from a corner kick over the crossbar in the 18th minute, and junior midfielder Kayla Smith sent a shot just wide of the goal six minutes later.
Eventually, it was a stroke of luck that allowed the Hoosiers to equalize. Three minutes before halftime, freshman forward Macy Miller sent a low cross into the Penn State penalty box intended for freshman defender Julia Gilliam.
Instead, the ball was met by Penn State sophomore midfielder Alina Ortega Jurado, whose clearance attempt ended up looping over freshman goalkeeper Amanda Dennis and into the net. The own goal allowed IU to enter halftime with the match tied at one, despite its failure to record a shot on net.
“We are starting to believe in ourselves and we are continuing to get better,” Berbary said. “I’m just proud of them. We fought the entire time and came out with the result.”
The performance of L’Hommedieu in goal played a large part in IU being able to secure the result. L’Hommedieu made several impressive stops in the second half to keep the Nittany Lions at bay, including full stretch saves in the 55th and 68th minutes to deny Crouse and junior midfielder Salina Williford.
“I’ll speak for her, Sarah played out of her mind,” Borschke said. “She saved us.”
Penn State, now 8-2-3 overall and 4-0-2 in conference, continued to threaten the Hoosier goal as extra time loomed, with Williford hitting the crossbar in the 83rd minute. The visitors also enjoyed a period of having four corner kicks in under two minutes, but IU was able to weather that as well.
The Hoosiers now have seven points from its six Big Ten games, and are tied for the final Big Ten postseason spot with Wisconsin.
After losing 4-0 to Penn State last season, tonight’s result not only furthered IU’s chances of returning to playoff soccer this season, but also marked a turning point for the team.
“Our upperclassmen showed us that this is who we are. We are not the same team we were last year,” L’Hommedieu said. “We are Indiana and that’s going to mean something different this season.”
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