After a weather-induced 1-1 tie against Michigan last Sunday in Bloomington, Indiana women’s soccer played Northwestern Friday night at Martin Stadium in Evanston, Illinois. Indiana beat Northwestern 1-0.
Northwestern opened with the ball on a mild and misty evening. For the first 40 minutes of play, the Evanston weather was the only story with Indiana and Northwestern combining for only six shots in that same window.
Then toward the end of the first half, sophomore defender Anna Aehling found some space just outside of the 18-yard-box.
Aehling played a ball up to senior defender Oliwia Wos who was able to feed a pass to junior midfielder Megan Wampler. Wampler was able to bury a shot on frame for her first goal of the season to put Indiana up 1-0 in the 42nd minute.
Indiana head coach Erwin van Bennekom said Wampler’s goal meant even more after the junior midfielder was inactive during the spring 2021 season after being suspended by the university.
“To be able to get back on campus, and coming back, and starting, and playing massive minutes and scoring a goal like that is just massive for her,” van Bennekom said.
Moments later, the referee blew their whistle and the Hoosiers went into the halftime break up one goal against the opposing Wildcats.
Indiana returned to the second half looking to build on their one-goal lead, but the start of the second half was a lot like the start of the first, a back and forth game with no team being able to mount any serious offense.
In the 60th minute, Wampler almost doubled her team’s lead and her season goal total with a shot that soared just high of the upper right corner of the net.
Freshman midfielder Kelly Monaco was assessed with a yellow card in the 62nd minute after a hard collision with a Northwestern defender. Freshman defender Camille Hamm was also given with a yellow card after another collision in the 80th minute.
But even after being handed two yellow cards, Indiana maintained a one-goal lead with 10 minutes to play.
The Hoosiers were just 120 seconds away from securing a much needed three points on the road when Northwestern junior defender Marianna Annest sent a rocket towards freshman goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg.
Gerstenberg stood tall with a diving save to preserve the single goal lead for Indiana.
“I think Jamie is big time. I think she is the best keeper in the league,” van Bennekom said. “Looking back, I was thinking she hasn’t made any great saves, but technically her footwork and everything is so sound that it doesn’t look that crazy.”
Gerstenberg’s shutout matched the Indiana program record for shutouts in a season with nine so far this season.
Just after Gerstenberg’s save, sixth-year senior Allison Jorden entered the game with just 52 seconds left in the match.
Jorden, who is from Scottsdale, Arizona, first arrived in Bloomington in the fall of 2016. Jorden was immediately a key fixture in Indiana’s starting lineup until she suffered an ACL tear against Vanderbilt University in the fall of 2017.
She recovered from the injury and returned to the team as a regular starter who logged the most minutes of any other player on the team as a junior in 2018.
Jorden started every game in her senior season and then, four games into the spring 2021 season, she tore her ACL again in action against Penn State.
During the 89th minute of play against Northwestern, Van Bennekom sent Jorden back into action for the first time since her injury against Penn State seven months ago.
“It’s incredible. She can go anywhere. She had job offers left and right. She’s so bright, so motivated, and still decided to come back for a sixth year,” van Bennekom said. “I told her it might not be for anything, two minutes here and there to play balls and win headers. Besides winning games, that’s why we do this, the determination and fight for her to come back.”
With the win Friday, Indiana improves to 9-2-3 on the season and 3-1-2 in Big Ten play.
The team also moved into third place in the Big Ten standings, trailing only Rutgers and Purdue with four games to play before the start of the Big Ten Tournament.
Indiana plays Penn State next at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Jeffrey Field in State College, Pennsylvania. The match will be televised on ESPNU.