From the opening minutes, 1-7 Penn State had IU on its heels. The first 10 minutes of the game was a sign for the way the match was going to go.
Thanks to another double-digit-saves effort from IU junior goalkeeper Sachi Ananias, the game's 3-1 score in favor of Penn State was much closer than it appeared.
The Hoosiers allowed three early penalty corners to their opponents. Eight minutes in, sophomore defender Anna Simon, Penn State’s leading goalscorer, found the back of the net for the first of her three goals on the day.
Ananias ended the day with 12 total saves, and the IU offense was not able to move the ball out of its own half of the field for the first three quarters. The Nittany Lions were able to draw 14 total penalty corners to the Hoosiers’ one, which helped Penn State control possession and maintain a hefty 22-5 shot advantage.
The loss moves IU to a 1-3 record in the Big Ten this season, having lost three straight home conference matchups by a combined 11 goals. IU head coach Kayla Bashore gave credit to the teams they’ve faced.
“We need to have a better understanding of our game plan going forward,” Bashore said. “When you play great teams, you need to have flawless execution, both on the field and as coaches in the meeting room. It’s on all of us.”
The Hoosiers showed signs of life in the fourth quarter, with sophomore forward Hailey Couch finding a late goal, her seventh of the season.
Bashore said she saw something in her squad that could possibly translate to Sunday and into the second half of the Big Ten schedule, where IU will face off against four ranked opponents, beginning with Rutgers next Friday.
“We’re in it for the long hall,” Bashore said. “This team has no quit in it. We obviously have a way to go, but this team isn’t going anywhere, and I think we saw that in the fourth quarter today. As long as we are showing effort in what we’re doing, we can fix the tactical errors after the fact.”
Before traveling to Piscataway, New Jersey, IU has an opportunity to bounce back against Kent State University later this weekend, where the Hoosiers will be celebrating senior day.
Seven Hoosiers, including captain midfielders Kelsey Giese and Ciara Girouard, will be honored before the match against the Golden Flashes.
“We have to stick together,” Bashore said. “If we don’t, it will only get more difficult. We’ve put ourselves in this position, and it’s up to us to pull ourselves up and out of the hole we have put ourselves in.”
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