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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

IU women’s soccer dominates in 1-0 victory over UT Martin

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In a match with a pair of lightning delays, IU women’s soccer kept its focus to defeat the University of Tennessee at Martin Skyhawks 1-0 in convincing fashion on an 88-degree Thursday night at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

Following a precautionary lightning delay that pushed the start time to 8:30 p.m, the match began with a slow pace and neither side was able to maintain much possession of the ball in a packed midfield. In the 14th minute, the second lightning delay forced the teams back to their locker rooms. 

IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom said his coaching staff came to a realization during the delay: UT Martin hadn’t come out looking anything like what they had seen on film. It was the perfect opportunity to throw out the game plan and surprise the Skyhawks when the match resumed.

“They played differently than we expected them to, because they had been in a 4-3-3 formation in their matches up until tonight and then started here in a 4-4-2,” van Bennekom said. “The break allowed us to look at the system and cameras that give us a tactical view, which showed us where the spaces were and how to play with our wingbacks.”

When the whistle blew to signal the restart 30 minutes later, the Hoosiers were prepared.

For the rest of the first half, the ball was only in IU’s defensive half of the pitch for brief moments. Each time, it was right back in the Hoosiers’ possession with a look to run at the Skyhawks’ defense. Even when the Hoosiers were unsuccessful, their full-field press approach earned multiple turnovers as well as second and third chances.

“We were disconnected in our press earlier in the season against Valparaiso, but tonight everybody was together and the team did a great job,” van Bennekom said.

To cap off the long spells of possession IU enjoyed, junior midfielder Avery Lockwood made a solo run from the halfway line before firing IU ahead in the 38th minute. 

Although an opposing player attempted to track Lockwood from behind during her run, no other UT Martin defender stepped to her, which allowed her powerful shot from 25 yards out to bend into the lower right corner of the goal uncontested. 

By pushing high up the pitch, the Hoosiers’ forwards ultimately created the space for Lockwood by dragging the Skyhawks’ back line further into the penalty area with them.

The strike was Lockwood’s first goal of the season, and it ended up being the deciding factor. She said she felt relieved to open her scoring account, and she could sense the energy that IU brought following the delay.

“The girls are all really good at staying sharp mentally, and we just came out with a greater fire than in the beginning of the match,” Lockwood said.

Rather than staying content with the lead, IU continued to exploit UT Martin’s tactical weaknesses in the second half and pushed for another goal to put the game out of reach. Though it never came, sophomore forward Anna Bennett struck a number of shots that came close to scoring.

UT Martin was stuck chasing the ball around and was unable to manage a single shot on goal against freshman goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg in the second half.

The performance showed signs of growth for the Hoosiers early in the season, who looked to be in cruise control for the final hour of the match.

While the Skyhawks’ shutout streak was broken with Lockwood’s long-range effort, the Hoosiers’ streak is still intact after the opening 290 minutes of the regular season.

IU will look to keep it rolling on the road against the University of Memphis at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex in Memphis, Tennessee.

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