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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Offense overcomes woes, impresses in Indiana women’s soccer’s 2-0 win over Iowa

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Indiana women’s soccer recovered from Sunday’s offensive nightmare in its loss against Michigan State quickly and in convincing fashion, putting in an impressive performance Thursday in a 2-0 victory over Iowa at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington.

Indiana head coach Erwin van Bennekom said after the Michigan State loss that his team wasn’t able to find a rhythm offensively and passed the ball sloppily. Indiana didn’t have as much possession as it was comfortable with.

“The hours this week were long,” van Bennekom said. “I couldn’t wait for this game to come. I knew we were going to respond.”

It’s no secret the Hoosiers enjoy sitting in a low block defensively and dealing with pressure in their own half. This tactical setup has served as the backbone of the Hoosiers’ identity, inspiring their seven shutouts this season. It’s also uncoincidentally resulted in a lack of ideas and opportunities going forward against their best opponents.

Just five minutes into Sunday’s match, the Hoosiers rid any doubt they wouldn’t be able to adjust or keep pace with the conference’s best. Sophomore forward Anna Bennett’s third goal of the season gave the Hoosiers an early lead against the reigning Big Ten tournament champions.

The ball was well-struck by Bennett, who hustled to a loose deflection just inside the top of the penalty area and fired the ball into the bottom right corner of Iowa goalkeeper Monica Wilhelm’s net.

From there, the Hoosiers appeared confident when passing during offensive buildups, rediscovering their rhythm. The first goal sparked energy that suggested a second goal would come and, at the half-hour mark, it did.

Freshman forward Jordyn Levy and junior midfielder Paige Webber — the lethal attacking duo leading Indiana with four goals each this season — combined to put Indiana up 2-0. Seconds after Webber laid a ball off for Levy from 25 yards out, Levy placed a perfect pass rolling through Iowa’s backline and into the right half of the penalty area, which Webber tucked past Wilhelm’s left-hand side.

Even though Indiana edged out Iowa 9-8 in total shots, it wasn’t able to generate as many chances in the second half. The Hoosiers managed to get only one shot on target in the period. 

But as has been the case for the Hoosiers, their defensive stability prevented the Hawkeyes from punishing them for a few lackluster stretches of offense. They held off a Hawkeyes attack that scored 17 goals this season. 

Indiana also defeated Iowa 2-0 in last season’s meeting, extending their win-streak against the university to two. The first Big Ten win of the season will be a big boost for the Hoosiers' confidence going forward as they’ll attempt to emulate last spring’s record-tying six-win total in conference play.

“It was a big match coming off our loss,” Bennett said. “We learned a lot about putting the game away early and we need to do that more often.”

Indiana will look to further improve its 7-2-1 record when its home stand concludes against Illinois at 1 p.m Sunday in Bloomington. Illinois opened its Big Ten schedule with a pair of 2-1 defeats to Michigan and Purdue.

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