In its final match of the regular season, IU women’s soccer tied rival Purdue 0-0 Saturday night in double overtime at Folk Field in West Lafayette, Indiana, in a battle for the Golden Boot trophy.
The rivals played a physical, competitive match highlighted by hard tackles, strong defense and clean goaltending from both IU senior Bethany Kopel and Purdue junior Marisa Bova.
The physicality of the match coupled with a packed schedule and travel for the Hoosiers made it an incredibly difficult game, and was IU’s toughest match of the season, head coach Erwin van Bennekom said after the match.
“It was the toughest, not so much because of the game itself, but because it was our fourth game in nine days,” van Bennekom said. “After 30 minutes, I thought we were shattered.”
With the sides tied at 0-0 after 90 minutes, the match went into overtime, the second such match of the season for IU, the only other being the team’s 1-0 win over Rutgers Feb. 25.
One overtime was not enough to decide the match, and neither was a second, leaving the match in a draw — the first of the season in IU’s final regular season contest. While it was not a victory, van Bennekom said he was still content with the outcome.
“Happy with the draw in the end. I think that keeps us in the conversation for an NCAA at-large bid,” van Bennekom said. “I think if we would have lost it would have been a little different.”
While the Hoosiers were outshot by the Boilermakers by a 18-4 margin, they never felt outmatched thanks to their defense and goalkeeping.
“All 11 players just fought and battled and worked so hard, especially towards the end of the game,” van Bennekom said. “They stuck with it and worked, and that’s what gets you results when you need it.”
The draw snapped a two-game Purdue winning streak in the series, although the Golden Boot remains in West Lafayette, as the team who held the trophy going into the match gets to keep it in the event of a tie. Purdue leads the all-time series 15-4-6.
IU ends its regular season 6-4-1, finishing 6th in the Big Ten. IU will face Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, a team it defeated 2-0 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on March 28. The match will be played at Penn State, and the winner will face the Nittany Lions.
With a rematch with the Wolverines up next, van Bennekom said the Hoosiers are ready to make a run in the conference tournament to help solidify a resumé for a potential at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s never fun to play someone you’ve beaten already, but I think from a resumé standpoint, that can’t really hurt us because it’s a good team,” van Bennekom said. “We’re looking forward to that. We’re gonna rest up now and make sure we’re prepared.”