Indiana women’s soccer lost 2-0 to No. 18 Purdue on Sunday in a pivotal match to strengthen its resume ahead of the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.
Head coach Erwin van Bennekom’s starting XI Sunday once again featured senior goalkeeper Caitlin Arbuckle in place of freshman standout Jamie Gerstenberg, who was called up for international duty with the German under-20 national team last week.
In Indiana’s 2-0 loss to Rutgers on Thursday, Arbuckle registered eight saves on 10 shots on net and didn’t allow a goal in the game’s last 40 minutes.
Arbuckle continued her defensive success early in the match against the Boilermakers. The senior blocked three shots in the match’s first 45 minutes, saving two strong attempts from senior Boilermaker forward Sarrah Griffith and one from sophomore Boilermaker midfielder Emily Matthews.
Arbuckle has been tasked with replacing Gerstenberg, who set a program record for shutouts in a season with nine
“(Arbuckle’s) done well, she’s handled herself well,” van Bennekom. “It’s a tough spot to come into, I’m very proud of her.”
Despite the defensive success early on, the glaring problem for Indiana continued to be with the offense.
Sophomore forward Anna Bennett had a solid chance in the ninth minute but soared her kick wide of the net.
The Hoosiers best scoring opportunity came in the 32nd minute when senior midfielder Megan Wampler found some space and was able to put one on frame past Purdue goalkeeper Marisa Bova, but the officiating crew waved off the goal due to an offsides.
In the month of October, Indiana has played in six matches against Big Ten opponents. Its goal against Northwestern Oct. 6 was the only goal this month.
Indiana is also tied with Wisconsin for the third-to-last in the conference in goals scored in regular-season play this year with 23.
The Hoosiers came back out for the second half needing a goal to control their own destiny for the 2021 postseason and nearly scored again in the 47th minute. Junior midfielder Paige Webber sent a shot towards the Purdue net only to be stopped again by Bova.
After a pair of shots from junior midfielders Avery Lockwood and Alaina Kalin in the 64th minute, the Hoosier offense was dormant for the remainder of the contest.
Despite the lack of offense, Indiana was still able to hold Purdue scoreless until the 73rd minute when senior forward Ally Mussallem caught a fast break past the Indiana defense and was able to land a shot on frame past Arbuckle to put Purdue up one.
Purdue added another goal six minutes later courtesy of sophomore midfielder Emily Matthews to put her team up two.
Indiana wasn’t able to climb back from the two goal deficit in the game’s last 10 minutes and lost its fourth straight match to end Big Ten regular season play with a 3-4-3 record.
“I thought we played really well until the 70th minute,” van Bennekom. “We were so good with the ball, we were in control of this game. If we score one of our chances I think this is a different game.”
After the loss, Indiana sits at 9th place in conference play. The top eight teams in the Big Ten are eligible for the tournament and Indiana, being the first team out, will not be eligible to compete in the event.
“It looks like we might be out, but we left some points on the table so that’s what happens,” van Bennekom said.
Indiana will now have to wait until the field for the NCAA tournament is released on Nov. 11 to see if their season will live on. Indiana has not made the tournament since 2013.