Another day, another 1-0 shutout for IU women’s soccer.
However, Ohio State made the IU defense earn its seventh shutout of the year in a battle for one of the final spots in the Big Ten Tournament field.
After the Hoosiers dominated possession in the first half, it was the Buckeyes who controlled the tempo for much of the second half. But the Hoosiers maintained their defensive shape just long enough to escape with the win.
“What a crazy game, right? Tale of two halves,” IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom said. “First half complete possession, complete domination. I think we should've been up two or three. Second half, we stopped playing a little too quick and stopped playing a little too early”
The game opened with some Ohio State pressure, though it was not able to get anything close to the net.
Once the Hoosiers grabbed possession, it did not take long at all for the Hoosiers to strike on a counter. A long pass into the attacking third found freshman midfielder Avery Lockwood just outside the attacking zone.
Lockwood then fed a pass to fellow freshman midfielder Alaina Kalin, who put on a series of moves to free herself from a defender and strike from 19 yards out for her second goal of the year.
“I didn’t think it was going to go in, but then it did,” Kalin said. “I was shocked, and I was really excited because it was a big game.”
IU was spurred on by the 10th-minute goal, its earliest of the season, and continually sent long balls in behind the OSU defense.
Junior midfielder Melanie Forbes had one of those chances standing right in front of the net in the 22nd minute, but a spectacular OSU save kept the game at 1-0.
“We found the right time to play the long ball and get behind them,” van Bennekom said.
At the half the Hoosiers offensive attack showed, and they had thoroughly outshot the Buckeyes 8-2.
Ohio State responded to the Hoosiers’ relentless attack by applying serious pressure right out of the gates to start the second half.
The Buckeyes earned a couple corners and a couple shots after continually possessing the ball for the first 15 minutes of the half.
Both teams managed plenty of corner and free kicks in the half as the physicality picked up. In total, there were 28 fouls between the two teams for the game.
As time wound down under 15 minutes, junior goalkeeper Bethany Kopel made a pair of lunging saves — just four minutes apart — to bail out the defense and preserve the lead.
“It’s honestly amazing,” Kalin said. “Anytime there’s a fastbreak or anything, we all know we have Bethany back there. She always keeps us in the game. She’s just a great goalie.”
IU’s win put them back over .500 on the season and helped them pull away from OSU in the standings.
The Hoosiers have now won three of their last four matches against Big Ten opponents who were at the top of the conference last year. The key to their success?
“Just go out there and have fun,” Kalin said. “I think we just have confidence going into the game. We just play, and it’s working out.”