Indiana field hockey took a trip down to Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday looking to take down one of the highest-ranked teams of the season, but fell to the No. 6 University of Louisville, 1-0.
Just over eight minutes into the game, Louisville’s freshman forward Filippa Niebuhr scored off a penalty corner to give Louisville an early lead over Indiana.
Early in the game, the Cardinals defense did not allow the Hoosiers offense in striking range often. The Cardinals held the Hoosiers to only two shots in the first half, both of which missed the goal.
Indiana head coach Kayla Bashore said Louisville’s swarming defense kept Indiana from finding chances.
“They are a very good team, good goalkeeping, good defensive structure,” Bashore said. “Obviously they didn't make it easy. It was not easy getting through their press and of course it wasn't easy walking into the circle. We had to earn the corners that we got.”
Down 1-0, the Hoosiers came out of the break with much needed urgency on the offensive end. Indiana earned three penalty corners on three straight possessions, giving the team a chance to tie the game at 1-1.
In a span of 27 seconds, the Hoosiers put three shots on goal but still had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Louisville’s freshman goalkeeper Mila de Kuijer stopped all three Hoosier attempts to preserve the 1-0 advantage.
After the game Bahsore talked about those key missed opportunities for her team.
“We had to take advantage of our opportunities that came in key moments,” Bashore said. “You know attacking corners, we had a few opportunities. There were a few balls that crossed right in front of the net that we didn't finish.”
Those missed opportunities hurt the team, as the Hoosiers only saw one more shot on goal the rest of the game. Indiana was shutout through three periods.
Late in the fourth period, with time ticking down, Indiana pulled their goalkeeper in hopes of finding an equalizer, but stout defense from Louisville preserved the 1-0 lead and, later, the win. Louisville moves to 5-0 on the season, as Indiana drops to 4-2.
The Indiana field hockey team has played high-ranking competitors in the opening of the 2021 season, and even with yesterday’s loss, Bashore feels that the tough matchups now will help the team compete at a high level late in the season.
“We went into the Louisville game saying ‘this is a really good opportunity for us’ because playing against top 10 teams is something that we will come up against every weekend,” Bashore said. “For us, that was a good measure of where we are at. If anything, it should give us confidence going into the Big Ten conference games.”
Indiana heads back to Bloomington for a three-game homestand with games against Iowa, the University of Richmond and Maryland.
The Hawkeyes come into the matchup undefeated, including wins over the No. 1 University of North Carolina and No. 11 Wake Forest University.
The Hoosiers take on the Hawkeyes at 3 p.m. Friday at the IU Field Hockey Complex.