The IU women’s soccer team kicked off its 2015 campaign with a 2-1 loss against Virginia Tech in the Hoosier Classic Friday. After posting a 7-11-1 record in 2014, the Hoosiers faced a difficult Hokies squad that was voted 13th in the NCSAA preseason poll.
IU pushed the poised Hokies team to the brink in Bill Armstrong Stadium, but the No. 13 team in the nation was too much for the Hoosiers to handle. IU and Virginia Tech had played only one match in women’s soccer, in 1994, when IU prevailed 2-1 in Columbus, Ohio.
Though the Hokies were an unfamiliar opponent, the game served as a barometer for where the Hoosiers stood nationally.
“I’m never going to be thrilled that we lost,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “But we certainly gave ourselves a chance to win that game. And that’s all you can ask for.”
The Hokies struck early with a header from junior Murielle Tiernen in the 12th minute that beat IU senior goalkeeper Sarah Stone to the far post. Then, in the 18th minute, the towering 5-foot-11 forward scored again with a shot from 10 yards out, in the center of the goal.
“She’s a big body,” Berbary said of Tiernen. “She’s athletic. She holds people off. She’s a goal scoring forward. I hope to find one of those in the next couple of years.”
IU had a late rally, led by senior midfielder Jessie Bujouves, who lifted a shot over the Hokies’ goalie in the 79th minute to cut the deficit to one in the waning moments of the game.
“The keeper was off her line quite often the second half,” Bujouves said. “And I tried to get it a second time, but she read it. It was a good shot.”
While the Hoosiers developed a rhythm as the game progressed at times, they could not overcome their two-goal deficit, as the Hoosiers chased the ball most of the night. Despite the disparity in possession, IU had several chances before Bujouves’ goal, including a one-on-one breakaway by freshman forward Abby Allen, whose shot went wide of the far post.
“I don’t even know where she came from,” Berbary said. “I’ve never seen a kid make a beeline in a 70-yard run wide and then get a shot off. I mean that was fantastic. Abby is a very hard worker.”
IU looks to rebound against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Sunday at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
“It’s too bad it took us a little while to get started and that was actually part of our game plan,” Berbary said. “We talked about the first 15, getting going. It just took us a minute. But I’m happy with the second half. If we build off of that, I think we’ll be all right.”