IU women’s soccer has found its stride over its last six halves of soccer.
In that time, the Hoosiers have outshot their opponents 58-13 while outscoring them 8-1. IU’s “build from the back” approach has been on full display over the last three games, and the bottom line for the Hoosiers is that all three games have resulted in wins.
The latest of those wins came Sunday afternoon as the Hoosiers defeated the University of Kentucky, 1-0, on the road.
“Kentucky’s obviously a Southeastern Conference team, and a good team with a good record,” IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom said. “So for us to come here to their field, and shut them out, it’s a great feeling and a great bit of confidence going into Big Ten play.”
Junior midfielder Melanie Forbes had the Hoosiers' lone goal, as her team moved to one game over .500 for the first time this season.
The Hoosiers first chance of the game came on a corner in the fifth minute, but that would be all either team would manage offensively until the 14th minute, when senior midfielder Chandra Davidson got the first of her four shots off.
Davidson’s shot missed the net, but three minutes later, Forbes’ would not. Set up on a nice feed from freshman midfielder Avery Lockwood, Forbes sent a shot from the top of the goal box into a wide open net to put the Hoosiers in front, 1-0.
After getting beat to a cross prior to the goal, Forbes told herself that wouldn't happen again.
“We’d just been creating chance after chance,” Forbes said. “Once I saw Avery got the ball through, I had to put everything out there to get on the end of it.”
The goal was Forbes' first on the season and the first game winner of her career.
“It was great for her (Forbes) to play a really great game and get the game winner,” van Bennekom said.
Kentucky finally got its first shot of the game in the 33rd minute and began a mini onslaught that included two corner kicks in the final 12 minutes of the half. IU junior goalkeeper Bethany Kopel and the defense helped fend off the Kentucky attack and made it into halftime clinging to a 1-0 lead.
Indiana allowed a couple of Kentucky shots early but settled down as the half went on, eventually outshooting the Wildcats, 5-3, in the half.
The loss was the first of the season for Kentucky, who had won five games in a row, with four straight shutouts. The Hoosiers' shutout was the third of the season and second in their last three matches.
Sitting at 4-3, the Hoosiers now turn their attention to this weekend’s Big Ten foes — Iowa on Friday and Nebraska on Sunday. Iowa remains undefeated at 8-0.
“We’ve got some really tough opponents, but we can only get better at what we try to do,” van Bennekom said. "We will be ready to go and compete.”