Indiana women’s soccer drew with No. 17 Michigan on Sunday in a high-stakes Big Ten conference matchup, 0-0.
The game reached overtime after 90 scoreless minutes but was called 46 seconds into overtime due to inclement weather. The game was paused due to lightning and canceled later when rain caused the field to flood.
Despite the unusual ending to the match, head coach Erwin van Bennekom was happy with his team’s performance.
“A tie is probably a good result against one of the best, if not the best, teams in the league,” van Bennekom said.
One of Indiana’s biggest struggles in the fall 2021 season has been kickstarting the offense from the very beginning. The Hoosiers have been unable to score in the first half of seven of their twelve matches so far this season, including the past two matches against Illinois and Ohio State.
Against Michigan, the offense began the match already in prime second-half form with three scoring chances for Indiana in the game’s first ten minutes of play. Indiana had two shots aimed at the top center of the net and one off target to the right, but none came to fruition.
While the Hoosier offense may have been showing out, the defense was playing just as dominant.
In the 33rd minute, senior defender Sydney Shepherd, senior midfielder Meredith Haakenson and sophomore midfielder Sarah Bridenstine all launched shots at Indiana freshman goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg, but none got past.
Van Bennekom said Gerstenberg’s saves kept the team in the game. At halftime, Gerstenberg had four saves to her name and Indiana had nine shots.
The Hoosiers returned to play in the second half to be met by a Michigan offense that was much more aggressive than in the first half, but Indiana was still able to create opportunities to stay in the game.
In the 53rd minute, freshman forward Jordyn Levy tried to play a ball past Michigan senior goalkeeper Hillary Beall but was tangled up by a host of Michigan denders in front of the goal.
Junior midfielder Paige Webber tried to land a second chance opportunity off of Levy’s initial ball but was blocked again by Beall.
Neither Michigan nor Indiana could seem to get ahead of the other. After trading shots in the 77th and 87th minutes, both teams remained tied at zero and were heading to overtime.
Just 46 seconds into the first ten minute overtime period, the officiating crew delayed the match due to lightning in the area and sent the game into a 30-minute delay. After rain began to flood the field, the officials deemed the field conditions unfit to continue play and made the decision to end the match in a tie.
Van Bennekom was not pleased about the prolonged delay his team was sent into after the initial end of regular time. The Indiana head coach used the delay to highlight some of his grievances with Big Ten and NCAA specific guidelines.
“I would love to change all of the rules into FIFA rules, including substitution rules,” van Bennekom said. “It's the dumbest thing ever. It doesn’t make any sense.”
The head coach wanted to make it clear that he was not a fan of the current rules regarding overtime in the regular season.
“I know why they do it, they want to have more RPI data to make more decisions, but 75% of the overtimes end in a tie anyway. You’re just putting people in danger.”
Indiana will play next against Northwestern in another Big Ten matchup at 8 p.m. Friday night at Martin Stadium in Evanston, Illinois.