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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

After slow start, Indiana women’s soccer scores four in home non-conference finale

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Coming off a record-breaking 6-0 win over Southeast Missouri State University on Sunday, Indiana women’s soccer took on Murray State University on Thursday for their final home non-conference matchup of the season. 

Before Sunday's Labor Day weekend clash, the Hoosier offense was struggling for life, tallying only four goals in the team’s first five matches. 

Early in Thursday’s game, Indiana head coach Erwin van Bennekom’s side was faced with those same offensive woes. 

Murray State came out of the gate dominating all aspects of the game, refusing to give up possession. After an initial shot by sophomore forward Anna Bennett in the third minute, the Murray State defense held the home team to no shots for nearly 25 minutes. 

In the 29th minute, senior defender Oliwia Wos found space to set up freshman forward Jordyn Levy for an on-frame header. The Big Ten Freshman Player of the Week guided the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the Racer’s net. 

Van Bennekom has spoken this season about the confidence and reassurance his team finds after scoring their initial goal. Van Bennekom’s thinking held true as junior midfielder Paige Webber scored her first goal of the season on a strike 15 minutes after the first goal in the closing minute of the first half.

Indiana ended their first half against Murray State with a 2-0 lead. 

With Levy and Webber’s goals, Indiana has now scored multiple goals in a half in the last three games. 

Building on the momentum from the last 20 minutes of the first half, the Hoosiers opened the second half of play dominating all aspects of the game, maintaining possession for the vast majority. 

Just past the 65th minute, Webber found a gap inside the six-yard box and trickled a shot past Murray State junior goaltender Jenna Villacres for her second goal of the evening. 

Six minutes after that, Webber found the back of the net for her third goal of the night. The junior midfielder’s three goals in the Thursday game were her first three goals of the season. The hat trick was Indiana's first since 2013. 

“We had a lot to figure out in terms of personnel and how people fit together,” van Bennekom said. ”We’re getting to a point now where we are understanding what we have and understanding each other.” 

In his postgame press conference, van Bennekom said he was pleased with his team’s performance, but acknowledged the slow start. 

“We completely dominated that game from the 29th minute on,” van Bennekom said. “Unfortunately we needed a goal to start feeling good about ourselves.” 

Indiana has now scored 10 goals in their last two games. 

Indiana will play in their non-conference finale against Kansas State University at 8 p.m. Sunday at Buser Family Park in Manhattan, Kansas. 

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