IU women’s soccer returned to its home crowd Thursday night at Bill Armstrong Stadium to kick off a three-match homestand. Hoosier fans didn’t disappoint, inspiring IU to a 2-1 comeback victory against Western Michigan University.
IU’s Student Athletic Board showed up in large numbers to support the Hoosiers, and not a minute passed without IU’s Crabb Band filling the air with its motivational tunes.
According to IU, 472 fans attended the match, marking the highest attendance so far at home for the Hoosiers this season.
“No complaints about that,” IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom said. “Energy also comes from moments in the game, and in the second half we were on the front foot so that was very good.”
The Hoosiers came out firing for their fans, posting 15 shot attempts in the first half. IU dominated possession and made it seem like it was only a matter of time before one would go into the back of the net.
But the goal never came. That is, for IU.
Just over three minutes before halftime, Western Michigan graduate forward Bailey Korhorn fired a shot past freshman goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg for her fourth goal of the year. The goal came completely against the run of play and was the Broncos’ only shot in the half.
Despite the deficit, the noise never died down from the Hoosier faithful.
“The atmosphere was so loud and having the band out was awesome,” sophomore forward Jen Blitchok said. “That really gets us going, especially when we go down. It helped us get back up.”
Energized by the student section on the north side of Jerry Yeagley Field, IU came out of the locker room for the second half with a similar attacking mentality to the first. This time around, those same chances were put away.
Blitchok led the rally, heading home the equalizer in the 60th minute. Not a minute later, Blitchok tallied an assist on the game-winning goal.
Blitchok floated a ball over a Bronco defender on the left side to freshman forward Jordyn Levy, who smashed a volley across the net for her second goal of the season.
After scoring late to win against Valparaiso University in the home opener, both of Levy’s goals have given the Hoosiers three points at home. She certainly hasn’t taken the crowd’s support for granted.
“The crowd’s been great,” Levy said. “It’s been great having everyone back, and today they really pushed us.”
Prior to Thursday’s match IU hadn’t played consecutive matches at home this season. Going forward, IU will play five of its next six matches, including the next two, in Bloomington. IU fans will have plenty of opportunities to support IU women’s soccer as it looks to build on its 3-1-1 record.
IU will face Southeast Missouri State University at 7 p.m. Sunday for Senior Night and Murray State University at 7 p.m. Thursday to wrap up the home stand.