Through 77 minutes, the IU women’s soccer team was in prime position to turn its road misfortunes around. But the University of Louisville's offensive attack proved to be too much to hold off any longer.
The Hoosiers hung close to the undefeated Cardinals, but a penalty kick in the 78th minute allowed Louisville to take the 1-0 lead, which was the deciding factor. It was the second game in a row that the Hoosiers gave up the lead goal within the last 15 minutes of a match.
“Losing is frustrating, and we’ll never get used to that,” IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom said. “I think we had a couple good chances. We gave a couple easy goals away, but we’ll wash off that and we’ll make sure we create a couple more opportunities going forward.”
Louisville attempted shots that were unsuccessful in the sixth and ninth minute, but could not get them on goal. IU earned a corner kick in the 10th minute that was cleared, but it was a rather quiet first half for both sides offensively.
The Cardinals did manage to get three corner kicks off in the 42nd minute, but only mustered one shot that missed the net off those opportunities.
At the half, the shot totals sat at just three for Louisville and one for IU, with neither getting a shot on goal in the half. The Hoosiers’ defensive efforts were more impressive given that Louisville earned five corners in the first half as well.
“We stayed compact and we were aggressive, and we were first to the ball. It just sucks that one mistake led to the goal,” IU freshman midfielder Alaina Kalin said.
The lone goal would come after a couple big moments early in the second half for the Hoosiers. First, junior goalkeeper Bethany Kopel went vertical and made a huge save in the 51st minute to keep the game scoreless. Senior forward Chandra Davidson put a shot on goal in the 58th minute that was turned away as well.
Trouble brewed in the 78th minute when on a corner kick, the Hoosiers committed a foul that handed Louisville’s junior midfielder Emina Ekic a chance for a penalty kick. Ekic did not waste her opportunity, finding the back of the net to put her team in front with just 12 minutes remaining in the game.
“We kept her quiet for the most part until the referee called the penalty," van Bennekom said. "That was a tough one. But she’s a great player, and our team did a great job."
“It was unfortunate. We shouldn’t have gone to a corner in the first place,” Kalin said.
The Hoosiers got another chance in the 80th minute, when freshman midfielder Avery Lockwood attempted a shot from 16 yards out. It was also turned away and was the last offensive chance of the game for the Hoosiers.
The loss dropped IU to 1-3-0 on the season, but they will not have much time to sulk.
With a 1 p.m. home game Sunday against Morehead State University, IU will have an opportunity to get back on the pitch without a full week off between games, keeping the players' minds off its most recent defeat.
“I think the sting from tonight and losing this way, I think the nice part is that we have a Sunday game which we didn’t have last week,” van Bennekom said. “I think the group feels pretty good about getting ready for Sunday.”