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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Women's soccer clinches Big Ten Tournament berth

spWomensSoccer

IU’s storyline in Sunday’s final home game at Jerry Yeagley Field against Wisconsin was simple — win and the Hoosiers clinch a berth in the Big Ten Tournament.

In a game where defense was dominant, the IU offense would finally break through.

Junior forward Monica Melink crossed a ball into the box during the 78th minute to find junior midfielder Abby Smith, who sent a diving header to the back of the net.

“Monica did a great job getting endline, and the cross she sent was amazing,” Smith said. “I think she looked at me and picked me out, and I just ran and tried to get something on it. I dove and got all I could.”

The goal would prove to be the lone goal of the game in a 1-0 Hoosier win. The three points they got for the win guarantees IU (13-4-1, 6-4) will finish at least fourth in the Big Ten standings.

The win punches IU’s ticket to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2007.

The postseason-clinching win left Smith’s emotions soaring after the game after missing out on the tournament last season because of a tie-breaker.

“It’s amazing,” Smith said. “Even missing it by that much last year to already know that we are at this point with a game left is unbelievable.”

For the eight seniors on the team, it will be their first taste of the postseason.

“That’s exactly what we’ve been working for,” senior goalie Shannon Flower said. “The seniors, we’ve never been to the Big Ten Tournament. We’ve never had any postseason, so today, on top of it being our last game at home, we had a lot to play for.”

The Badger offense tested Flower throughout the game, forcing her to make five saves in the second half.

Wisconsin forward Marissa Kresege gave Flower her biggest test in the 73rd minute of the game.

Senior defender Lara Ross was forced to the ground, giving Kresege a one-on-one chance against Flower, who made a diving save.

“I saw (Kresege) get through, and I sprinted back to my line and got ready to see what she was going to do,” Flower said. “She took a big touch, and I saw a little bit of panic on her face, so I just came out like a Kamikaze and tried to get my body on it.”

After the Hoosiers scored, the Badgers (9-6-2, 4-5-1) started a stretch of quality shots on goal that the defense would send away.

IU Coach Amy Berbary said once IU had the lead, it was not going to give it up.

“You could just see the look in their eyes that they weren’t going to let this one get away from us today,” Berbary said. “We were good defensively all over the field.”

The win means the Hoosiers are now only fighting for seeding with one game left next weekend against first place Nebraska (14-3-1, 9-1).

“Obviously, the goal is to take it one game at a time,” Berbary said. “We’ve accomplished our immediate goal, which was to get to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in five years. Now we can focus on the next game.”

Follow reporter Sam Beishuizen on Twitter @Sam_Beishuizen.

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