For a game that was level for all but four minutes Friday, it only seemed fitting that the game-winning goal would come with no time left on the clock.
That was the case for Louisville Friday as the Cardinals freshman Erica Cooper buried a penalty corner shot into the net with no time on the clock to give the Cardinals a 2-1 victory over IU.
Despite the loss, IU Coach Amanda Janney Misselhorn was happy with the team's effort.
“We’re really pleased with the experience of our upperclassmen," Janney Misselhorn said. "The backfield is stacked with upperclassmen and that experience showed. There was a lot of speed and I think there are a lot of positives coming out of this game to build on.”
Louisville got the action started in the 23rd minute as junior Bethany Russ scored the season-opening goal off a penalty corner. Four minutes later, IU senior Claire Woods took a pass from freshman Hailey Couch in stride to score a goal to open her senior season.
“Hailey had really good defense and our midfield started to go forward,” Woods said. “She beat her girl, and I was just trying to get up there with her. She had a great move and dished it off and I was wide open.”
Freshman play was big talk in the preseason and it showed in Janney Misselhorn’s confidence as Couch and fellow freshman Jes McGivern got starts in the season opener. Couch picked up an assist in her regular season debut and showed constant physicality throughout the match, picking up a green card along the way.
“She’s been working hard all season so to see her come out with such a big outcome where she’s able to play defense and pick up an assist is just such a great sign of good things to come,” Janney Misselhorn said.
While the final result was a loss, Janney Misselhorn was impressed by the defense’s play throughout the game and the Hoosiers’ ability to match the Cardinals stride-for-stride.
“I really thought our defensive battles were good where players like Andi and Hanna were being physical yet making clean tackles,” Janney Misselhorn said. “I think we were winning a lot of 50-50 balls. Those are things we try to mimic in the preseason so to see those happen during the regular season is a good sign for us.”
Even after the game-winning goal entered the net with no time remaining, Woods’ confidence level is still high after hanging with the No. 8 team in the nation.
“It’s a great way to start the season,” Woods said. “They’re a great team and shows that our team can hang with them. We’re feeling really great after this preseason so I think it shows we have a great season ahead.”
The Hoosiers return to action Sunday against Ball State in Muncie at 3:00 p.m. and return home Sept. 7 against Stanford.
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