After being shut out in the season opener, the IU women’s soccer team came determined for a different result Sunday, and it showed.
The Hoosiers did just enough to edge the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames, 1-0, in the 2019 home opener at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The win was also the first for new IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom as it put the Hoosiers at 1-1-0 on the year, while the Flames fell to 0-1-1.
“Today was far from what our standard is,” van Bennekom said. “I knew it was going to be tough, but we made it hard for ourselves. I think winning ugly is also a quality, and we didn’t really give away that many opportunities.”
The Hoosiers allowed just three shots the entire game but only scored one goal on 12 shots of their own.
Senior forward Chandra Davidson opened the game with a chance right on net in the second minute but was denied point blank by the Flames graduate goalkeeper Lena Kurz.
Davidson continued to lead the charge on offense with several impressive runs and crosses, including another chance in the 31st minute. Davidson finished the game with four shots and was a catalyst for the offense despite its struggles otherwise.
Freshman midfielder Bria Telemaque and freshman midfielder Allie Schlom had consecutive chances to score in the 24th minute but could not convert either, with Telemaque sending a shot off the crossbar and Schlom sending a rebound shot wide right.
At the half, the Hoosiers had outshot the Flames 7-2, yet remained in a scoreless tie with 45 minutes to go. Van Bennekom was not pleased with the amount of opportunities that his squad had squandered in the first half.
“In preseason we spent a lot of time on defensive transition, and we haven’t really spent too much time in the attacking third,” van Bennekom said. “I think our quality on the ball was a little messy, and I think we settled for crosses way too quick.”
In the second half, the Hoosiers locked down on defense, and their offensive attack became more focused.
“I think second half, we just wanted to get a goal, and we didn’t want to wait till the last 10, 15, 20 minutes,” van Bennekom said. “We kept them away from our goal, and we created a couple good opportunities and scored one of them.”
The Hoosiers finally cashed in when Davidson buried a feed from junior midfielder Melanie Forbes from point blank range to put the Hoosiers up by one goal in the 60th minute.
“We really brought the intensity in the second half, a lot more than the first half,” Davidson said. “She (Melanie Forbes) reads my runs and gives me a perfect ball in the box. She just gets her head up and sees that I'm there.”
IU now faces a five day layoff before the next game at Murray State University Friday night. With a win in hand, and defense down pat, the focus shifts to the offensive side of the ball.
“We came out with the win, so that’s good, but we’re still not satisfied,” Davidson said. “We can do a lot better with keeping the ball and maybe putting away teams earlier.”