The women’s soccer team closed out their 2018 campaign on a high note.
Just days after a gut-wrenching loss to Penn State that knocked IU out of postseason contention, the team traveled to Maryland for its final match of the season. At 7-8-2, IU Coach Amy Berbary said she was hungry for a win to finish out the season.
“Maryland’s going to have a lot to handle on Sunday,” Berbary said before the match.
The Hoosiers outshot the Terrapins by three in the first half, but it was IU’s defense that stood out this particular afternoon. Berbary’s backline had lacked at times this season, but it forced Maryland to go without a shot in the first 15 minutes of the game.
With quick passing from sophomore midfielder Melanie Forbes and junior midfielder Chandra Davidson, sophomore forward Grace Geise sent in a line-drive goal from just inside the box to give the Hoosiers the 1-0 lead.
Geise’s effort turned out to be the game-winning goal as both teams stayed off the scoreboard from that point forward. The sophomore’s goal total rose to two on the season, with her other score coming in the season opener against Miami.
Maryland’s offense threatened the IU lead in the second half, but the Hoosier defense prevailed. Maryland forward Mikayla Dayes had open net to her left in the 65th minute, but senior defender Justine Lynn blocked the incoming shot.
Twelve minutes later, freshman midfielder Hope Lewandoski took an ambitious shot off the crossbar for Maryland. Sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kopel logged five total saves en route to her fourth shutout win of the season.
“These kids were on a mission to get a result,” Berbary said. “We came into this game with the same mentality that we took into every other game, regardless of if the season was over or not.”
With the win, the Hoosiers pulled even to make it back to .500. At 8-8-2 overall and 4-7-0 in the Big Ten, IU had its best offensive season in five years. The Hoosiers 33 goals scored this season is their highest since 2013, when they netted 43 goals.
Though IU won’t be playing competitive soccer for 10 months, the team hopes to springboard off this win into its next season. Senior defender Caroline Dreher won’t be a part of next season’s team, but she knows that she has helped build the future of the program.
“I think some of the things we did this year pumps hope into the program and shows the potential,” Dreher said. “This was our way of showing what we can do and try and push the program into next season. It means a lot to end on a win in our last game and it’s representative of how this team has fought.”
Another senior whose contributions won’t go unnoticed is forward Abby Allen. The senior from Ohio had one career goal heading into this season and she ended up leading the team in most offensive categories.
Allen’s eight goals, seven assists and 23 points were all team highs. Though she could arguably be playing the best soccer of her life, Allen is calling it quits after this season.
“Soccer has been a big part of my life since I was little, but I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life in getting a job,” Allen said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of playing soccer.”
Including Allen, eight total seniors have played their last game as Hoosiers. They will be hard to replace, but the team has to find positives out of their departures. Berbary credits this senior class for fighting “tooth and nail for everything they’ve earned” as soccer players.
“They’ve helped build and sustain an incredible academic and athletic culture within our team,” Berbary said. “We’re so very close and I thought this would be that breakthrough team, but I know they can confidently look behind over these next couple years at the legacy they’ve left as we continue to build this program to the top of the Big Ten.”
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