This weekend was the final chance for IU women’s soccer to prove its worth before conference play begins next week.
The Hoosiers had a tough task in front of them with No. 23 Southern Methodist University and North Texas, but they were able to prove why they said they believe this will be a special season.
On Friday night, IU took on SMU in a revenge game after the Mustangs won last season at Bill Armstrong Stadium 2-1 on a late goal. This time around, the Hoosiers were the ones scoring late to pull out the victory.
“Against SMU, we had a game plan, we knew we needed to be near perfect in the back and we needed to be to win as many first and second balls in the midfield because they had great size on us,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “I thought we just battled for 90 minutes on Friday night and it paid off.”
Junior forward Maya Piper scored her fourth goal of the season after sophomore defender Meghan Scott sent a corner to redshirt junior forward Mykayla Brown, who knocked it toward Piper for the score.
“I’m really happy with this team,” Brown said. “We fought so hard and I think we wanted it more and were able to put it away.”
The win against No. 23 SMU was the first time IU has defeated a ranked opponent since 2010.
“It was great, SMU is a really good team,” Berbary said. “We just keep telling the kids that we have a chance to beat anybody if we continue to play as a unit and we have people who come off the bench and step up.”
Next up for the Hoosiers was a meeting with the Mean Green in Denton, Texas. UNT went up 1-0 after a score from freshman defender Logan Bruffett in the 30th minute. But IU came back with resilience, scoring a pair of goals from Scott and junior forward Abby Allen roughly six minutes apart to go up 2-1 heading into halftime.
UNT didn’t allow the two goals to bring down its offense. It struck back with two more scores of its own from freshman defender Brooke Lampe and freshman forward Ariel Diaz to take a commanding 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.
With 52 seconds left, Brown took advantage of the opportunity. As Piper drove to the line, she put in an early cross and Brown put her left foot on the ball to glide it past the goalie to send the game into overtime.
“It was pretty amazing feeling, I didn’t know if it was going in or not but I’m glad it did,” Brown said.
In overtime, neither team could take advantage of multiple opportunities, which resulted in a tie after the second overtime.
“I couldn’t be prouder as a coach right now," Berbary said. "Of course, you’re going to want to get that win and I think we missed a few chances in the first half, but you really saw the maturity of this group today.”
The Hoosiers will look to continue to build on this momentum heading into conference play next Thursday with a visit to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on Michigan State.
“We just kind of wipe the slate clean now,” Berbary said. “I think we put together a good enough schedule and played some very good teams as we step into the Big Ten."
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IU will look to build momentum as it heads to the final stretch of the season.
The No. 6 Hoosiers will face No. 4 Texas and No. 19 Florida in a two day meet in Austin, the site of this year’s National Championships.
IU has defeated both Texas and Florida for three straight seasons.