No. 7 Indiana field hockey entered halftime of its Big Ten Tournament match against No. 2 Rutgers tied 1-1, but Rutgers pulled away in the second half to defeat Indiana 3-1.
Thursday marked the second time the Hoosiers and the Scarlet Knights faced off in the 2021 season. The two teams met back on Oct. 3, when the Scarlet Knights punched in a goal in double overtime to defeat the Hoosiers.
The Hoosiers got off to a quick start on offense Friday. The team earned a penalty corner within the first 90 seconds of the game and recorded three shots on goal in a span of 20 seconds, but all three were saved.
Even with the score knotted at zero, the sequence set the tone for the Hoosiers on the offensive end.
In the sixth minute of the game, senior midfielder Jes McGivern scored her first goal of the season off an assist from senior forward Hailey Couch, giving Indiana an early 1-0 lead.
Head coach Kayla Bashore credited the early offensive execution to the excitement of the Hoosiers heading into the game.
“They were excited to get out and play,” Bashore said. “Having Rutgers again after a double overtime game, they were pumped.”
Early in the second period, Rutgers would even the score 1-1 off a penalty corner of its own. Only one more shot was recorded in the rest of the period.
Seven minutes into the third period, Rutgers’ sophomore forward Bridy Molyneaux took a backhand shot which was redirected into the goal. Rutgers led 2-1, and took control of the game.
“They were pretty good on their counter attacks,” Bashore said. “Missing our center back was a little bit hurtful for us in terms of withstanding that pressure.”
The Scarlet Knights would hold the Hoosiers without any attempted shots in the third period. Late in the fourth period, Indiana pulled their goalie in hopes of scoring a goal with another attacker.
Rutgers would add another goal in the 59th minute, to extend the lead and end Indiana’s season.
“They gained momentum after scoring that one goal and we didn't really respond until the fourth, so that was something that changed the momentum of the game,” Bashore said.
With the loss, Indiana’s season came to a close. Bashore said she believes even though Indiana didn’t end the season as champions, it was important for the future of the program.
“For us, it's a turning point in our program for the last couple of years,” Bashore said. “I think the girls can see that. The girls that weren’t a part of it, I think just making sure our history is known and understanding the people that were here to turn the corner is an important part of our story.”
Bashore said after the game the Hoosiers recognized the sacrifice their total four seniors made for the program.
“They came back last year and it was a really tough year for all of us at the program,” Bashore said. “They were a part of that, continuing to lay down the foundation for the program. I think for them that will always be remembered and appreciated.”