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Big Ten struggles continue for IU women’s soccer


Junior forward Abby Allen (right) fights with Kimber Haley of Clemson for the ball at Bill Armstrong Stadium in August. Allen and the Hoosiers earned one point this weekend after losing to Minnesota and drawing with Wisconsin.  Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

This weekend was more of the same from IU women’s soccer.

For the Hoosiers, it seems as if they either play great offensively and struggle defensively, or it’s the other way around in Big Ten Conference play. IU was hoping that its early season road success would come into play this weekend, but the Hoosiers were unable to pick up a win.

“I think we need to learn something from each game and improve on that, so we can keep getting better and keep preparing each week for the next opponent,” junior forward Abby Allen said.

Friday night saw the Hoosiers play an explosive offensive team in Minnesota. The game lived up to its billing as three goals were scored within the first 15 minutes of play.

IU capitalized first with sophomore forward Macy Miller scoring her first collegiate goal in the 12th minute.

It was a perfect start for the Hoosiers until Minnesota senior forward Sydney Squires broke through for the Gophers. Squires scored twice in a span of a little over two minutes to give Minnesota a comfortable lead heading into halftime.

“I think we just got a little bit disorganized," IU Coach Amy Berbary said. "We didn’t take a deep breath after we scored. We had to be a little bit better with our individual defending, and we left them wide open. We just have to be better at that.”

In the second half, the Gophers extended their lead to 3-1 after a goal from senior forward Julianna Gernes in the 52nd minute. Sophomore midfielder Chandra Davidson then responded within 50 seconds to make it a one-goal lead for Minnesota. 

IU was unable to capitalize after that and fell to the Gophers 3-2 in a game in which IU's offense was there, but the Hoosier defense was left behind.

“They never outnumbered us," Allen said. "We had enough numbers behind the ball, but I think we had to be tougher and a little bit grittier."

The bright spot for the Hoosiers seemed to be that they found their offensive groove again, but traveling to Wisconsin within 48 hours changed that perception.

It was a defensive grind for both. Neither team could capitalize on chances, and the Hoosiers didn’t play like the same team from Friday night that found the back of the net twice.

“I really think everyone put everything they had into the game, 100 percent, and had a lot of heart out there,” Allen said. “I don’t think we could’ve done much differently because everyone gave everything that they had.”

Inside seven minutes into the game, IU’s leading goal scorer, junior forward Maya Piper was helped off the field after a collision with a Wisconsin player. Piper didn’t play for the rest of the first half, but she did return in the second.

Wisconsin couldn’t capitalize on three corner kicks, and IU was held without a single shot on goal in the first period. It was a day on which a single goal could feel like more because neither team seemed to blink. 

IU found more of a rhythm offensively in the second half, pressuring the Badger defense to give up multiple good looks including a pair of Hoosier corner kicks in the 65th minute. But neither team could still find a single shot to hit the back of the net.

“After Friday, we really looked at what happened,” Allen said. “Our backline really stepped up today and did the little things right. Bethany has been fantastic for us all season, and she really stepped up today making a lot of huge saves.”

The defensive clash eventually headed into overtime. Neither team could get off many clean looks, and sophomore forward Sydney Kilgore came up big to clear a few of the Wisconsin opportunities. Kopel saved the day in the 100th minute after she soared up to tip the ball off the crossbar to send the game to a second overtime.

“We were awesome,” Berbary said. “Physically, we were outstanding today. Our individual defending from Hanna Nemeth, Meghan Scott, Kylie Kirk, Justine Linn, anyone we threw in the back was outstanding today.”

In the second overtime, IU had a chance to score when the goalkeeper fell, but the Hoosiers were whistled offside right after the ball went in.

Junior forward Mykayla Brown had the best shot of the day for the Hoosiers after she caught the goalie going the opposite direction. She took her chance, but the ball grazed the side of the net to bring the game to a draw after 110 minutes.

“I’m heartbroken for this team and these kids because we played good enough to win today," Berbary said. "We had a game plan. We executed it almost near perfectly except for that one piece that we missed with Mykayla Brown’s shot at the end.”

For IU, this weekend was a missed opportunity because it has yet to win a Big Ten matchup since defeating Michigan State on Sept. 14.

IU is running out of chances to make the Big Ten Tournament, and the Hoosiers can’t afford to go winless at home again this week when they take on Iowa and Nebraska.

“I think we just need to understand that we played with one of the better teams in our conference and kept it to a zero-zero draw with plenty of chances to win,” Berbary said. “We just need to build off this performance and put everything we’ve got into the next four games."

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