Coming off the heels of an exciting 3-0 win against Kansas State University last Sunday, the Indiana women’s soccer team returned to action after a week-long hiatus this Sunday against Michigan State in its Big Ten opener. Indiana lost 1-0 and fell to 6-2-1 this season and 0-1-0 in the Big Ten.
“They deserved it, they were the better team today,” Indiana head coach Erwin van Bennekom said. “We didn’t really get into any rhythm and couldn’t create any meaningful possessions.”
Prior to kickoff, the Indiana and Michigan State teams alongside the Bill Armstrong Stadium crowd,paused for a moment of silence in remembrance of Indiana University Athletics’ Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andy Hipskind who died from cancer on Saturday. Hipskind was 48.
Van Bennekom was looking to continue his team’s four game winning streak. In doing so, he sent the same starting XI responsible for the win against Kansas State last Sunday.
Despite having the same lineup on the field Sunday, Indiana would not perform nearly as well as it had the week before.
Right after the opening kick, the Hoosiers struggled to keep up with the fast-playing Spartans. The Spartans were winning the battle for possession and shots. They put up three shots in the game’s opening nine minutes.
Then just past the 9-minute mark, senior defender Oliwia Wos tackled Michigan State senior defender Samantha White hard just outside of the 18-yard-box. Wos was given a yellow card and White had a good look on frame that sailed past the net.
Indiana survived to keep the game even in the match’s initial minutes, but it's luck would run out in the 15th minute.
Big Ten Freshman player to Watch Jamie Gerstenberg, entered Sunday’s game with 16 saves and two goals allowed through eight matches.
However, the freshman committed an error in Sunday's match where she misplayed a goal kick. The ball was intercepted and Michigan State senior forward Camryn Evans stuck it into the back of the net.
In an instant, Indiana was losing the game for the first time since the 60th minute of its Sept. 2 matchup against Western Michigan University.
Following the goal, junior midfielder Avery Lockwood was tackled hard in the 25th minute and was down on the turf for nearly two minutes before being replaced by senior midfielder Melanie Forbes. Wos was replaced by senior defender Madeline Carlson 2 minutes earlier.
Sophomore defender Anna Aehling played a ball back to Gerstenberg just minutes before the end of the first half. The pass was taken away by a host of the Spartans and nearly put on frame by senior forward Gia Wahlberg.
Indiana trailed Michigan State 1-0 at the end of the first half.
In the second half, Indiana played the same lackadaisical style of soccer that put them behind 1-0.
Michigan State was once again dictating the momentum of the match when at the 51st minute mark, Michigan State Senior forward Ava Cook nearly scored. Amid an absolute frenzy, Cook almost put in a shot while the majority of both the Michigan State and Indiana team’s were spread between the 8 yards separating the two goal posts.
Wos booted the ball out of harm's way mere inches from the goal line. During the chaos, Indiana goaltender Jamie Gerstenberg collided with a batch of Spartans and fell hard in the goal box.
Gerstenberg looked visibly in pain and uncomfortable in net for the remainder of the match.
Van Bennekom said she was fine and her collision was just “part of the game” in a post-game interview.
Following the 53rd minute, the Hoosiers found themselves unable to create any serious offense. Their only scoring chances came from junior forward Paige Webber and Lockwood in the 67th and 70th minutes, respectively.
Following Lockwood’s miss in the 70th minute, Indiana played out a relatively quiet last 20 minutes before the final whistle blew.
Indiana hadn’t been shut out since Aug. 29 against the University of Memphis.
“I’m always concerned if we don’t score goals, but I'm not,” van Bennekom said. “We’ve got the quality, we’ve shown it against good teams. It will come, it just wasn’t good enough today.”
Indiana returns to action at 7 p.m. Thursday at Bill Armstrong Stadium for another Big Ten matchup against Iowa. Iowa is 7-1-1 this season. The match will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.