The women’s soccer team took two steps backward this weekend.
The Hoosiers entered Thursday night’s match against Nebraska with a 2-0 record in conference play for their first time since 2007. Without a loss since August 26, IU was on top of the Big Ten, until they weren’t.
The Hoosiers blew a 3-1 lead and lost in overtime to end their six-game unbeaten streak. Sunday’s match at Iowa did not go much better for IU. The Hoosiers fell behind early and managed to tie it up, but the Hawkeyes tacked on two more goals en route to their 3-1 win.
Twelve minutes into the game, Iowa crossed a ball in for freshman midfielder Hailey Rydberg, who punched it in for the 1-0 Iowa lead. The Hoosiers responded just minutes later when senior Mykayla Brown scored off service from senior Annelie Leitner.
“We’ve done a good job with scoring and we know we can do that, but we also need work on our shutout portion,” graduate transfer defender Claudia Day said. “We had really strong forwards coming at us and we were challenged on the backline, but we needed to learn how to play in new situations like this.”
Brown’s goal may have tied the game up, but Iowa’s balanced attack was too much for IU.
As time wound down in the first half, senior Rose Ripslinger netted a goal for Iowa. The Hawkeyes led by a goal at the break.
Twenty-four seconds into the second half, Iowa put the game on ice with the final goal of the afternoon. Junior Natalie Winters, who assisted Ripslinger on her earlier goal, headed in a ball for her fifth goal of the season.
Iowa’s defense stayed composed and kept the Hoosiers off the scoreboard in the second half. IU put up five second half shots, three of which were on goal. Sophomore Cora Meyers and junior Claire Graves combined for five saves on the afternoon.
The leading goal-scorer for the Hoosiers failed to put one in the back of the net, but a controversial call sent her off the field. After getting tangled up with Iowa’s goalie in the 74th minute, senior Abby Allen received a red card. IU was forced to play down a player for the remainder of the match.
Additionally, Allen will sit out the next game for the Hoosiers, a Saturday night match with Purdue next weekend. Unless the senior can gain an extra year of eligibility or IU plays them in the postseason, this would be Allen’s last chance to play against the Hoosiers’ biggest rival.
“I feel so bad for this kid and that she has to miss next week’s game,” Berbary said. “We’ll have to figure out a way to win without her, that’s just what teams do.”
The team’s lone Saturday match of the regular season will take place from West Lafayette next weekend. The Boilermakers have gone 0-2-2 against same four Big Ten opponents as IU, which is now 2-2 in the Big Ten. However, Purdue has played four top-25 teams this year, so they know how to keep each game close.
“It’s a huge rivalry and we just want to get that trophy back, it means a lot to us and to our program,” Berbary said. “We’ll have to lift each other up without Abby. We’re going to work very hard this week at practice and get ourselves ready.”