The IU women’s soccer team traveled south this weekend for a pair of road contests, their first games away from Bloomington this year.
After a 3-0 win over Miami (OH) in their home opener, the Hoosiers took on Georgia and Clemson to kick off a four-game road trip.
The match against Georgia was a special one for IU Coach Amy Berbary, who played her college ball as a Bulldog from 1998 to 2001. After playing her final collegiate game, Berbary ranked third in school history for goals and points.
“The people were really nice to me in welcoming me back into the stadium,” Berbary said. “The atmosphere was awesome, there will like 2,000 people there. It was amazing.”
Just minutes into the game, senior forward Maya Piper opened up the scoring with a strike into the net off a cross from fellow senior Abby Allen. Piper saw the field as a sub against Miami, but did not receive her first start until Friday night.
Sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kopel continued to look impressive in net until allowing a goal with ten minutes remaining in the first half. The match stayed level at one goal apiece for 45 minutes before an IU goal was scored off the foot of Allen.
The forward beat a Georgia defender to a leading pass in the 80th minute and buried the ball past the goalie. At the time, it was her second goal and sixth point of the season.
Minutes later, the Bulldogs had an equalizing goal that would eventually send things into overtime. Kopel stepped it up and made multiple big-time saves down the stretch, but the Hoosier offense dried up and failed to execute on their few chances. The final was a 2-2 draw.
IU aimed to bounce back, while also recovering from the extra 30 minutes of fast-paced soccer they endured on Friday. Clemson came into Sunday’s match with the benefit of home turf and being more rested, their last match having been Thursday.
When the two teams met last year in Bloomington, a Clemson goal in the 31st minute was the difference in their 1-0 victory over IU. With a bit more offense, this year’s game played out differently.
When Clemson opened up the scoring in the 21st minute, the Hoosiers responded eight minutes later with a gritty but unconventional goal. Redshirt senior Mykayla Brown sent a cross in from the right before Georgia’s goalie misplayed the ball. Abby Allen got her foot in at the right time and she tied the game, scoring a goal in her third straight game.
Shortly after Allen’s heads-up play, the Tigers added to their tally with a penalty kick goal in the 32nd minute.
Later on, the Clemson offense continued to wreak havoc. They scored two quick goals in the second half and IU trailed 4-1.
The Hoosiers didn’t have enough in them to muster a serious comeback attempt, but Abby Allen just couldn’t leave the field without scoring again — so she did.
In the 84th minute, Piper sent a ball to Allen who finished it for her second score of the day. With consistent performances so far, Allen has seriously impressed her coach.
“Abby Allen has been a force to deal with, and nobody’s been able to stop her yet,” Berbary said. “She has exceeded my expectations of her already in week two of the season, and I hope she continues to get better.”
Berbary also gave praise to her leading-scorer for “reaping the benefits” of special opportunities both on and off the field. Allen, who played for a semi-professional team in Detroit this summer, continues to stay fit and better herself in the weight room just as the coaching staff encourages the entire team to.
Next weekend, the Hoosiers will head to California with a record of 1-1-1.
The team will have four days before their next contest, but Allen said she is anxious to get back onto the playing field and improve.
“As a whole team, we’re all going to work hard and continue to get better every day,” Allen said. “We need to be able to defend as a unit and find our moments.”