After advancing to the Big Ten Regional Weekend Finals when Michigan was eliminated because of COVID-19 concerns, IU women’s soccer lost 3-1 at No. 6 Penn State Sunday afternoon.
After IU took the first two shots of the match, Penn State found its footing from there. Redshirt sophomore forward Ally Schlegel, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, scored the opening goal of the match on Penn State’s first shot of the afternoon just twelve minutes into the match.
The bad news didn’t stop there for the Hoosiers. After missing practice Saturday because of an injury, senior goalkeeper Bethany Kopel aggravated her injury attempting to save Schlegel’s goal and missed the remainder of the match.
Kopel was replaced by sophomore Chloe Briede, who made her first collegiate appearance in the team’s biggest match of the season thus far.
“Chloe did great. Obviously a tough game to get into, but she did well,” head coach Erwin van Bennekom said.
Penn State extended its lead to 2-0 with just 12 seconds to play in the first half, thanks to a timely bouncing shot to the bottom left side of the goal from senior midfielder and forward Frankie Tagliaferri, putting the Nittany Lions up by two at halftime.
“A little too casual then, it was not about possession then, it was about that ball not going forward,” van Bennekom said. "It is what it is. It’s a game of mistakes — that one was definitely on us.”
The scoring continued for the Nittany Lions as Schlegel secured a brace with her second goal of the day coming in the 59th minute, extending the lead to 3-0 two-thirds of the way through the match.
While the Hoosiers trailed 3-0 late in the second half, their effort did not diminish, culminating in freshman forward Anna Bennett taking a shot from well behind the box and putting the ball into the top right corner of the net.
Bennett’s second goal of the season cut the IU deficit to 3-1 with 17 minutes to play, and the goal was Penn State’s first goal allowed since March 21 against Michigan.
“Great goal, and that’s what she can do,” van Bennekom said. “She waited a little longer into the season to start doing that, but she almost had a second one that I thought was in. She’s been getting better and better.”
IU’s Big Ten Tournament run came to an end in its first match. Now, the team awaits its fate for a long-desired NCAA Tournament appearance, which the Hoosiers have not played in since 2013.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I feel we’ve put ourselves in a good place,” van Bennekom said. “Obviously, a result today would have been nicer. With the schedule we’ve had and with the wins we have, we should be in the conversation for sure.”