The IU women’s soccer team had just about seen it all in 2014.
A loss in overtime against Ohio State with only two seconds remaining. Zero wins in four overtime matches in the Big Ten.
Various injuries including an injury to one of the team’s top returning offensive players. Five conference losses decided by one goal.
Then on Friday, the Hoosiers celebrated senior night by playing in freezing temperatures, snowfall and a consistent crosswind that forced players on the bench to warm up in three layers of coats.
But at the final whistle, winter-like weather conditions aside, IU had defeated Michigan State 2-0 to win back-to-back games, both shutouts, for only the second time all season.
It took 13 tries, but IU managed to score multiple goals against a Big Ten ?opponent.
For Berbary, this was a fitting end worth celebrating to an oftentimes ?frustrating season.
“We’ve had to go through a lot of adversity, a lot of ups and downs this year,” Berbary said. “To be able to finish with two shutout wins is encouraging to everybody.”
For sophomore midfielder Veronica Ellis, the win came much-deserved for the senior class she’s looked up to for two seasons.
“They taught me so much,” Ellis said. “Not just how to be a soccer player, but how to be a person. How to be a friend. How to be a teammate. So much more than just the game.”
IU ended the 2014 season finishing 7-11-1 overall and 3-9-1 in the Big Ten, which puts it in a tie for 12th place with Michigan State in conference.
Throughout the 2014 season, the Hoosiers were plagued by an inability to create offense in the final third.
Although IU held opponents to just 25 goals scored — the program’s best since allowing 22 in 2009 — the Hoosier attack managed just 17 goals in 19 games this season. In 2013, the team scored 44 times.
Both IU goals Friday came directly from creating chances in the final third.
In the 27th minute, senior midfielder Jordan Woolums dribbled past a defender to get endline around the 6-yard box and sent a cross toward the ?near post.
Freshman forward Kayla Smith was there to find the pass. She slid forward at the end of her run and deflected the ball just over the shoulder of the Michigan State (9-9-1, 3-9-1) keeper to put IU up 1-0.
Later in the second half, IU added an insurance goal off a penalty kick by senior midfielder Abby Smith that was set up by senior midfielder Kristin Leist, drawing a foul to put IU up 2-0 late in the match
Leist was all over the field offensively, having a number of near scores late in the first half off ?the bench.
She said she wanted to make the most of her final game as a Hoosier.
“I obviously wanted to make an impact on just the whole team,” Leist said. “I think I was able to draw a good foul, and Abby got the PK. An awesome end.”
Though it added breathing room, IU junior goalkeeper Sarah Stone wouldn’t need the extra goal. She finished with her fifth career shutout.
“She had little action, but the couple of shots that Michigan State took, she was ready,” Berbary said.
The team will spend the next week debriefing about the season. While they’re doing so, the Big Ten ?Tournament will be taking place in West Lafayette.
It’s a situation Berbary said she doesn’t want her team to be in again.
She said there were improvements throughout the year, and what she saw in the final few games was promising.
“I think the future is bright,” Berbary said. “We saw our younger players start to come into their own. The seniors showed leadership and maturity.
They’re a good group of kids and I’m proud ?of them.”