IU women’s soccer celebrated senior night Sunday, and the Hoosiers offense erupted in a 6-0 blowout against Southeast Missouri State University.
The game was the second of three straight matches at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Nine Hoosier seniors were honored in pre-match festivities. Their families came down on the pitch to be by their sides as other IU players lined up forming a guard of honor to celebrate them.
The only two seniors to make the starting XI were defenders Oliwia Wos and Hanna Nemeth. The two have started every match for IU’s back line this season.
Six of the seven IU seniors on the bench made appearances once the match was put out of reach. Most notably, senior goalkeeper Caitlin Arbuckle replaced freshman goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg after halftime, giving the underclassman a rest for the first time this season.
Wos said she appreciated how well received she and her fellow seniors were by the crowd of 433.
“It’s a different atmosphere, and I always want to play better for all the people that come,” Wos said. “I don’t even care how many minutes I played, I was so happy for everyone else who came in.”
IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom said he was happy the team was able to come away with a victory on such a special night and produce a good offensive performance.
“Before the game I said we had two jobs to do: win the game and celebrate the seniors,” van Bennekom said. “I’m proud of how we came out and made it a fun game for everybody involved.”
All of IU’s six goals came in the first half. The scoring opened early, with sophomore forward Jen Blitchok and freshman forward Jordyn Levy, the goal scorers in Thursday’s 2-1 comeback victory over Western Michigan, finding the back of the net. The goals, both coming in the opening 15 minutes, gave the Hoosiers a 2-0 advantage.
Another pair of goals from junior midfielder Avery Lockwood and sophomore forward Anna Bennett put the Hoosiers up 4-0 before the half-hour mark, marking the beginning of over a dozen substitutions van Bennekom made in the match.
Van Bennekom said he was proud of all of his players who came off the bench, including the seniors, for continuing to push for more goals. The final two goals were scored by two substituted players: sophomore midfielder Sofia Black and junior midfielder Bria Telemaque.
“When we made the first sequence of substitutions in the first half I thought the level got higher,” van Bennekom said. “It’s a testament to our team and the depth.”
Van Bennekom praised the seniors who have been a part of the program’s rebuilding process since he arrived in Bloomington.
“The players we’re celebrating today kept us and our momentum going from the start, and they’ve helped us keep raising the standard of our program,” van Bennekom said. “I’m so thankful for them and hope that in a few years from now they look back on this and realize they kick-started this whole process to get the team to where it is now.”