Coming off the heels of a 0-0 draw with Kansas State, the IU women’s soccer team aimed to get back in the win column when it played Michigan Thursday night, and the Hoosiers did just that in dramatic style.
Despite trailing after just 27 seconds of play, IU stormed back with two goals in the final five minutes of regulation, before scoring in the second overtime session to secure a 3-2 win against Michigan.
To start out the game, Michigan sprinted down the field and passed the ball across the box. Before IU sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kopel could even turn her head, Michigan’s Reilly Martin had already connected with a ball that hit the back of the net.
Trailing by a goal inside the first minute of play, the 11 Hoosiers on the pitch met in front of their own net to talk over the early mistake before taking the ball at midfield.
Right away, there was a difference in IU’s tempo.
The Hoosiers tried to match Michigan’s pace on the attack, but deflections and blocked shots kept the ball away from the goal. Senior Mykayla Brown spun a ball just wide of the net, while senior Annelie Leitner’s header sailed above the goal of Michigan goalkeeper Izzy Nino.
In the 23rd minute, the Wolverines regained possession in their attacking third and launched another ball past Kopel and into the goal.
Down two scores at halftime, the Hoosiers were losing by multiple goals for the first time since Aug. 26 when they played against Clemson.
“Our heads were down a little bit at halftime,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “We put ourselves in a hole. It was just going to be that much harder for us to pull off a comeback."
But there were 45 minutes left to play. With more than enough time to pull things even, IU came out firing. The Hoosiers earned an early free kick, but Leitner missed high for the second time of the night.
A Michigan breakout in the 58th minute forced Kopel to slide at the ball, but the Wolverines were able to dribble around the IU keeper.
It took graduate transfer Claudia Day blocking the shot with her chest to prevent a third Michigan goal.
This missed chance would come back to haunt the Wolverines.
The Hoosiers struck gold twice in the dwindling moments of regular time. Sophomore midfielder Melanie Forbes headed a ball at senior Abby Allen who scorched a ball past the Michigan goalie. The senior forward’s team-leading sixth goal of the year was the spark IU needed in the closing minutes.
Still down a goal, Berbary’s squad needed some more magic to force extra time. The Hoosiers earned a corner with less than three minutes to go, and senior defender Caroline Dreher blasted the ball toward the net, where Day stood above everyone else.
The 5-foot-11-inch defender headed in the equalizer from four yards out to send the game to overtime.
Her first goal as a Hoosier might have been of little significance if it hadn’t been for her blocked shot earlier.
Then, in the second overtime, IU completed the comeback.
Forbes zoomed down the left side of the field and snuck past a defender before passing the ball to junior Chandra Davidson in front of the net. The junior wasted no time and kicked the ball past the goalkeeper Nino.
IU’s game-winning goal in the 108th minute called for an ambush of celebration at Bill Armstrong Stadium. While the fans in the stands hugged and screamed for joy, the Hoosiers rushed the field and dogpiled Davidson.
“We knew that wasn’t our team in the first half,” Davidson said. “We really regrouped at halftime and finished the game in the second half. We just kept pushing because we knew the game wasn’t over.”
With one more day of rest than normal, IU will recover ahead of Sunday’s home battle with Michigan State. The Spartans are 5-1-1 thus far, so the Hoosiers will need all the energy they can get to extend this winning streak.
“That extra day means so much,” Berbary said. “You just don’t know if on Sunday we’ll have to go a few more players deep, but I’m confident in that because I’m confident in this team from player one to player 26.”
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