IU women's soccer was shutout, 3-0, by the University of North Carolina in a match that started almost two hours late because of inclement weather in Chapel Hill.
Despite getting only one shot and one corner kick, as opposed to 16 and eight for No. 2 UNC, IU Head Coach Erwin van Bennekom viewed the game as a success.
“Outside of a win, I think we got exactly what we want everyone d out of this game,” van Bennekom said. “In possession, at times we were really, really good and better than we’ve seen so far. Super proud of the team and what we did.”
The Hoosiers held their own through the first 13 minutes or so, but an UNC ambush made it a 2-0 game within the span of four minutes.
A battle for the ball in front of the net off a corner was polished off by UNC senior Bridgette Andrzejewski in the 14th minute, and sophomore teammate Brianna Pinto followed with a second chance score of her own in the 18th minute.
“We gave up a ton of set pieces and free kicks and corners,” van Bennekom said. “The best way to prevent conceding off set pieces is to not give away set pieces.”
In between the two goals came IU's lone shot of the game off a corner kick, however the Hoosiers weren't able to get it on net.
IU got another chance in the second half, when senior captain Chandra Davidson crept her way in the box in the 58th minute, but was knocked off the ball before getting a shot off.
Still, to van Bennekom, the lack of result in the box score did not accurately depict what was a sound game against the best in the country, in one of the most difficult venues in the country.
“Up to midfield, maybe the next line we were good, but that next stage, that final third we didn’t really challenge them enough,” van Bennekom said. “Overall, I’m really happy. For the young players that haven’t been in that atmosphere, now we’ve got that feeling out of the way.”
The second half was a mostly stagnant battle, with UNC’s Pinto picking up her second goal of the game in the 81st minute, essentially closing the book on the game.
The Hoosiers now set their sights on Sunday’s home opener against the University of Illinois-Chicago, tabbed for a 1 p.m. start from Bill Armstrong Stadium.
The Flames opened their season Thursday night with a scoreless draw against Central Michigan University. Last season UIC compiled a 4-14-1 record to go along with a 3-6 mark in conference.
For van Bennekom, records and reputations are not the main focus of his game plans.
“It doesn’t matter who you play,” van Bennekom said. “UNC, UIC, whatever three letter team. We have the same intention, and the intention is always to score one more than the other team.”