After a hard fought, come-from-behind victory over Western Michigan University last Thursday, IU women’s soccer welcomed Southeast Missouri State University to Bloomington for a Senior Night matchup Sunday at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The Hoosiers won 6-0 and moved to 4-1-1 this season.
The Hoosiers entered the game following a stretch of matches with significant offensive struggles. Across the team’s five matches so far this year, IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom’s team has only produced four goals.
However, the issues with IU’s offense changed for the better Sunday night.
The Hoosiers won the opening kickoff and dominated the first few minutes of possession just like they had against Western Michigan and the University of Tennessee-Martin and Valparaiso University.
However, the difference with this IU start was the team was finally able to get a score on the board early. In the eighth minute of the match, sophomore forward Jen Blitchok dribbled past Southeast Missouri State University goaltender Abby Rollet to lead her side to a 1-0 lead.
“Scoring two goals early opens it up and calms us down a little knowing that in the worst case scenario we win 1-0,” van Bennekom said.
So far this season, one-goal leads have been the standard, and scores have been few and far between with this IU team. Just three minutes after Blitchok’s initial score at 8’, freshman forward Jordyn Levy buried a shot in the back of the SEMO net to put her team up by two goals.
Then, just seven minutes later, junior midfielder Avery Lockwood blasted one on frame and the Hoosiers had their biggest lead of the 2021 season with 72 minutes still to play.
Only three minutes after Lockwood’s goal, senior midfielder Melanie Forbes entered the game for IU and was almost immediately fouled by a SEMO player just inside of the 18-yard box. Forbes was awarded a free kick, which sophomore forward Anna Bennett elected to take and push all the way into the back of the net.
Not even halfway through the first half of play, IU had already matched its amount of goals scored in all previous games this season.
Fifteen minutes later, sophomore midfielder Sofia Black broke away and put another goal past the Redhawk defense. With their fifth goal, the Hoosiers had scored more in a single half of play than they had in their four previous matches this season combined.
Six minutes after Black’s goal, junior midfielder Bria Telemaque sent in another shot on frame at 42’ to put the Hoosiers up 6-0 and took that lead into the halftime break.
IU’s six goals in the first half against Southeast Missouri State were the most goals scored in a single half for the program since 2010. The program record for goals scored in a single game currently sits at nine after a pair of 9-0 wins against Temple University in the August of 1997 and against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the September of 1998.
Up by six goals, the Hoosiers took up a style of play focused on long, slow and meaningful possessions to drain out the clock.
While the record-breaking offense was the story of the first half, the IU defense was the headline in the second.
Although the Hoosiers would not take nearly as many shots on net as they did in the first half, the defense would allow the Redhawks zero shots on net in an otherwise uneventful second half.
IU’s six-goal win over Southeast Missouri State marked the largest margin of victory in a game by the team since 2011.
“I said before the game we had two jobs to do,” van Bennekom said. “One, win the game and two, celebrate the seniors and make it a celebration and overall I feel we accomplished both of those things.”
IU continues its home stand with another non-conference matchup at 7 p.m. Thursday against Murray State University at Bill Armstrong Stadium.