Sunday afternoon proved the IU women’s soccer team still had some fight left in it.
The Hoosiers battled through wet and windy conditions at Bill Armstrong Stadium to draw the Nebraska Cornhuskers 1-1 in a game IU couldn’t afford to walk away from with no points.
“We’ve got this mentality that we aren’t going to quit and that we aren’t going away,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “Indiana is not going away. So, we’re going to kick, we’re going to fight, we’re going to scrap, we have so much to play for still so I’m just proud of the effort.”
Despite the end result, it wasn’t pretty at the start for IU.
Nebraska began the match aggressively and found some great opportunities early.
IU found themselves down after Nebraska senior midfielder Haley Hanson curled a shot from 13 yards out on the left side of the field to give the Huskers the advantage.
The last 20 minutes of the first half went better for the Hoosiers, but they still couldn't direct a shot that tested Nebraska sophomore goalkeeper Aubrei Corder.
After trailing 1-0 at halftime, the Hoosiers looked like a different team in the second half.
“It was a tough day to play,” Berbary said. “I thought that we played the conditions very well, and I thought in the second half we figured out the physicality that was needed in this game and we put together a good 45 minutes in the second half.”
Nebraska seemed to be in cruise control in the first 20 minutes of the second half until junior forward Mykayla Brown took matters into her own hands.
In the 71st minute, sophomore forward Sydney Kilgore found Brown in the box, and she was able to make a Cornhusker defender miss to earn a 1v1 opportunity against Corder.
The opportunity ended with Brown slotting the ball past Corder to tie the match.
“I was really excited,” Brown said. “I knew the energy was really high after that, and it got everyone going. We were just ready to continue playing and try to get another one.”
The equalizer injected life into the Hoosiers. IU began slicing through the defense and almost took the lead after a pair of excellent looks from Kilgore and Allen in the 79th minute.
After IU was unable to convert on a last-minute corner kick, the game went to overtime.
Nebraska played with a sense of urgency and attacked the Hoosiers early in the extra period.
In the first minute of OT, IU freshman goalkeeper Bethany Kopel picked up where she left off Thursday night against Iowa and made a save while falling to the ground.
Nebraska managed to fire a rebound shot, but Kopel snagged the ball while still on the ground.
IU was outshot 4-1 in the first overtime and almost lost in the last second as Nebraska had a golden opportunity to put the game away, but the ball went wide of the goal.
“We just talked about putting together a really good performance,” Berbary said. “We had a ton of alumni in town, we were playing for our seniors and playing for our lives really. All that said, we didn’t really talk about a must-die scenario. We thought, play well and the chips will fall where they may, and I think we did a really good job.”
It was more of the same in the second overtime. Both teams again combined for five shots taken, and the best look for IU came when Brown sent in a ball inside the 18 to Kilgore, who found Davidson, but the shot was saved to halt the momentum.
Despite only drawing Nebraska, this felt like a win for the Hoosiers. They couldn’t afford to lose their sixth-straight match to the Cornhuskers, and combined with Thursday's win against Iowa, IU picked up four crucial points this week.
“We were just able to keep the energy high,” Brown said. “We really needed this game. We just wanted to finish out the rest of the game and try to get one in. I think our team really put together a great game today, just couldn’t pull out the win.”
The Hoosiers now sit 10th in the Big Ten and will need help to keep climbing in the standings.
IU has a long week ahead of it as the Rutgers Scarlet Knights roll into Bill Armstrong Stadium this Saturday night.
"Our schedule is set up pretty well,” Berbary said. “I’m proud of our team for grabbing four points on the weekend, it’s always tough to do. We’ve got these whole next six days to prepare for one game, so our sole focus has to be on recovery and figuring out the best game plan that we can.”
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