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Women’s soccer postseason chances shrink after loss at Illinois



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Junior Chandra Davidson attempts to score in the final seconds of regulation time Sept. 13 at Bill Armstrong Stadium. IU lost at Illinois, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon. Claire Livingston Buy Photos

With two games left in the regular season, the IU’s women's soccer team's Big Ten Tournament hopes are running thin.

After falling behind in the conference standings Thursday with a one-goal road loss at then-No. 25 Northwestern, IU was desperate to return to the win column with only a few games left in the season.

IU was able to be competitive with a talented Illinois team Sunday afternoon, but a 107th-minute goal gave Illinois a 1-0 victory in double overtime.

“You had two teams absolutely battling in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “We knew that coming in and knew it was going to be a fight.”

The first half of the match saw six total shots on net, but goalkeepers Bethany Kopel for IU and Jaeyln Cunningham for Illinois made sure no balls went past them.

The Hoosiers and Fighting Illini then traded chances via six more shots on target in the second half.

In the 65th minute, IU caught a break when Illinois forward Kelly Maday snapped a shot off the crossbar. 

Once the game reached overtime, IU had its best chance of the afternoon.

Junior midfielder Chandra Davidson received a stretch pass on the left side, only to fire a shot from 16 yards out high of the net. Senior forward Abby Allen followed up Davidson’s effort just minutes later with a shot of her own, which Cunningham saved. 

In the seventh minute of the second overtime period, Illinois sophomore midfielder Hope Breslin pounced on a loose ball in front of the IU net to give the Fighting Illini the victory. 

“I thought it was back and forth and we put up 50 percent of our shots on-goal, but we weren’t able to finish,” Berbary said. “Unfortunately, it bit us at the end and they buried a loose ball in the box.”

Illinois now has a 6-4-0 record in Big Ten Conference play, which ranks sixth in the conference. IU falls to 7-7-2 with a 3-6-0 record in conference play. 

The Hoosiers are now 11th in the conference standings, tentatively knocking them out of a spot to compete in the Big Ten Tournament. 

If Berbary’s squad can muster wins next weekend against Penn State, which has an 11-5 record overall, and a Maryland team with just four wins, then IU could benefit from a tiebreak scenario due to IU's head-to-head wins against Michigan and Minnesota.

The Wolverines and the Golden Gophers are currently placed in front of the Hoosiers in the conference standings.

For the Hoosiers to even stand a chance of playing in the Big Ten Tournament, they’ll need to upend the Nittany Lions, who will come into Bloomington on a five-game winning streak. 

Maryland may be a less challenging opponent than Penn State, but IU’s win would need to come on the road. 

When playing as a visitor this season, IU is 2-6-1 overall, in contrast to a 5-1-1 overall record at Bill Armstrong Stadium. 

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