Having a three-game winning streak end at home stings no matter the context.
After losing a close, gritty game Friday to the 19th-ranked University of Iowa, IU women’s soccer head coach Erwin van Bennekom could only describe the 2-0 loss one way.
“It hurts like hell,” van Bennekom said.
The Hoosiers nearly matched the Hawkeyes in shots, far outshooting and out-chancing Iowa in the second half, but a penalty kick in the first half and a breakaway chance in the second were all Iowa needed to pick up its ninth win of the season.
“I thought we were in control," van Bennedkom said. "Even the first half when we didn’t create as much, when we got the ball we were in total control. I thought the second half we completely dominated.”
The first half started quietly for the Hoosiers offensively, not getting a shot credited to them until the 44th minute. Instead, it was Iowa that would get the first shot of the game off, but it was a routine save for IU’s junior goalkeeper Bethany Kopel, who had five total in the match.
The Hoosiers maintained a stalemate for much of the first half, managing to hold onto the ball in the attacking third of the field while silencing the Hawkeyes’ offensive advances.
IU struggled coming out of the hydration timeout, with sloppy passing culminating in an opportunity for Iowa near the net. The Hoosiers’ sophomore defender Maddie Carlson was called for a foul while trying to break up the chance.
Iowa was able to score on the ensuing penalty kick thanks to senior midfielder Natalie Winters, taking a 1-0 lead.
IU turned up the intensity to end the half but still found itself trailing 1-0.
The Hoosiers came out inspired in the second half, racking up shots and putting serious pressure on Iowa, but still could not break through the deficit. IU drew four corner kicks and outshot the Hawkeyes 6-5.
Those corner kicks came back to burn the Hoosiers. Picking up the pressure, one of the corners was sent into the box and was cleared out. With IU sending all its players into the box looking for a chance to score, it became a foot race to the cleared ball that Iowa would win.
The Hawkeyes’ sophomore forward Samantha Tawharu finished off a chance after some fancy footwork to put the Hawkeyes in front 2-0 in the 71st minute.
“Obviously the counter attack from the corner is our fault,” van Bennekom said. “Class finishing on their end. We were better than them in every aspect of the game except from the two boxes. They had maybe two or three opportunities, and they scored two.”
The loss put the Hoosiers at 4-4 on the season, and with a quick turnaround for Sunday’s match with the University of Nebraska, the Hoosiers can only focus on themselves.
“Do what we do well, and hopefully do a little bit better in front of both goals,” van Bennekom said.