It was a night of firsts for the IU women’s soccer team.
The Hoosiers were able to pick up their first Big Ten win of the season Thursday night against Michigan State behind sophomore midfielder Chandra Davidson’s first-half goal.
It was the first time IU won its Big Ten opener since 2013.
“It was really exciting,” Davidson said. “I have to give credit to Mykayla Brown, who made the pass, and I just ended up finishing my run, she saw the gap and I just chopped it in.”
With 17 minutes left in the first half, Davidson started off at the edge of the 18-yard box, and after the junior forward Brown came in wide, Brown passed the ball to Davidson, who ran in behind the Michigan State defense and struck the ball into a gaping net.
After the IU goal, Michigan State pressed to even the score. Michigan State had a couple solid looks, including one shot that hit the post in the 26th minute but the IU defenders made it uncomfortable for the Spartan attack throughout.
The Hoosier defense limited the Spartans to six shots in the second half.
“Our defenders were phenomenal," Davidson said. "They were winning all the balls even with all the pressure Michigan State had up top. Their three top players were so dynamic, but our defense was really able to handle that and bring the ball up to the forwards."
The IU defense was anchored by freshman goalkeeper Bethany Kopel, who recorded seven saves on the night. Kopel recorded her fourth shutout of the season and now ranks second for total saves in the Big Ten with 45, just behind Illinois sophomore goalkeeper Jaelyn Cunningham’s 47 saves.
“She’s playing like you’d never know that she was a freshman back there,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “She has the confidence, she has such a presence and such a good voice and our backline has confidence, really our whole team has confidence in her.”
Next, IU will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, this Sunday afternoon to take on the Michigan Wolverines. If IU defeats Michigan, it would mark the first time since 2007 that the Hoosiers win their first two conference games.
“I think what I was impressed most by was our grit and hard work,” Berbary said. “We need to do a better job of solving problems on the field as we go forward, but I’m so proud of the fight to get out of here with three points.”
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