IU women’s soccer got off to the exact start it wanted Sunday, but it went downhill from there.
The Hoosiers scored in the seventh minute, but in-state rival Purdue answered with goals in the 21st and 59th minutes to stun a big IU crowd and keep the rivalry trophy, the Golden Boot, for a fifth straight season.
Purdue’s first win since Sept. 22 also put the Hoosiers’ playoff hopes in danger despite having one more game in hand.
“First 15 minutes we have total control, we scored a goal, we should have scored another one, and then we just dropped our standard, our level of intensity,” said head Coach Erwin van Bennekom. “With all respect to them, I think we cost ourselves that game.”
Junior midfielder Melanie Forbes put the Hoosiers in front early with a strike in the seventh minute. Freshman forward Jacelyn Smith crossed a pass from right to left that was settled down by freshman midfielder Avery Lockwood.
Lockwood then touched a pass to Forbes, who did a half spin and sent a bullet into the top right corner of the net for her second goal of the season. IU had another great opportunity not five minutes later off of Lockwood’s foot, but her shot trickled wide left of the goal.
After their initial flurry, the Hoosiers were playing on their heels for most of the remaining first half.
Purdue sophomore midfielder Grace Walsh was able to take advantage of her team’s constant pressure, as she lined up for a free kick in the 21st minute.
Walsh sent a sinking shot on net that IU junior goalkeeper Bethany Kopel stopped initially, but she could not hold on and the ball rolled into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Heading into halftime, what the scoreboard indicated and how the Hoosiers felt about their chances suggested two very different things.
“Suddenly we start losing the ball and people stop wanting to get on the ball,” van Bennekom said. “We just got worse as the game went on, and never felt we had a good grip of the game.”
Purdue dominated the first 15 minutes of the second half and culminated its sustained pressure with a swift goal on a counter attack.
Junior forward Hannah Melchiorre was sent into the box on a beautiful pass by Redshirt sophomore Sarah Griffith that split two IU defenders and allowed Melchiorre to score her fourth goal of the year.
The eventual game-winning goal in the 59th minute marked the first time Kopel had allowed two or more goals in a game since Sept. 22 against Nebraska. Ironic considering that Purdue’s last win had come on the same day.
The Boilermakers managed to eat most of the remaining clock and win to hold onto the Golden Boot as they have every year since 2015.
“I hope we all feel what I feel, that they’re celebrating on our field, which hurts more than anything,” van Bennekom said.
IU will now have to wait on results of Sunday afternoon matches for Ohio State, Nebraska, and Northwestern to know if its match on Wednesday against Michigan State will have an effect on their Big Ten tournament chances
“Hopefully, we’re not done," van Bennekom said "We’ll see this afternoon. Hopefully we’re still playing on Wednesday for something.”
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