Indiana field hockey traveled out east to play two top 10 opponents in No. 8 Penn State and No. 6 Rutgers. Indiana lost both games, dropping to 0-4 in the Big Ten this season.
Head coach Kayla Bashore said she knew the Hoosiers had to bring their best field hockey going into a weekend against two highly ranked Big Ten games.
Despite taking an early lead, Penn State’s aggressive offense finally prevailed in the fourth period. In a span of six minutes of play, Penn State scored three goals, and the 4-1 deficit proved too much for the Hoosiers.
Early on, junior midfielder Kennedy Reardon found the back of the goal to give the Hoosiers a 1-0 advantage on a pass from sophomore back Sydney Keld in the 17th minute.
The Indiana lead was washed away 10 minutes later. Penn State sophomore midfielder Sophia Gladieux added her eighth goal of the season off a deflection to tie the game at 1-1.
The Nittany Lions had six shots on goal and four penalty corners in the third period, but the Hoosiers’ defense stood tall. Neither team scored a goal, leading to a tied ball game heading into the fourth period.
Bashore said she felt the pressure Penn State was putting on Indiana’s defense was too much in the end.
“I definitely think there were just a couple errors and goals that didn't help us,” Bashore said. “They kind of swayed the momentum of the game.”
Despite giving up four goals, freshman goalkeeper Arabella Loveridge had a season high of eight saves while facing 22 shots.
The Hoosiers had another chance to earn their first Big Ten win against Rutgers on Sunday.
It took two overtimes to find a winner in Piscataway, New Jersey. The game remained a scoreless draw after four periods and an overtime, but Rutgers stuck in the second overtime and Indiana fell 1-0.
No goals were scored by either team through regulation. Even though Rutgers outshot Indiana 13-3, Indiana’s defense once again outshined its offense.
Bashore said she felt there was notable improvement from the defense over the weekend despite the losses.
“I think we got back on track defensively,” Bashore said. “I thought that in both of those games we played some of our best defense we played all season.”
With 30 seconds left to go in the second overtime, Rutgers found an opening in the Indiana defense and scored the game-winning goal.
“Losing in the last 30 seconds was gut wrenching because I think if we had gone to shootouts, we'd have had a really good chance to win that game,” Bashore said.
The win moved Rutgers to 9-2 on the season, and the loss set Indiana back to 6-6. With the two losses on the weekend, Indiana has now dropped five of their last seven games.
Bashore thinks even with the recent losing streak, her team is ready to get back on track.
“Staying in these games that are against highly ranked opponents goes to show that we are moving in the right direction,” Bashore said. “We are on the cusp of turning the corner.”
The Hoosiers next game will take place against Ohio State at 3 p.m. Friday in Columbus, Ohio. Indiana then plays at noon Sunday against Kent State University.