The Indiana women’s soccer team opened its home campaign and third game of the season against Ball State University with the same result as its first two contests: a 0-0 draw.
Thursday marked the first time this season Indiana outshot its opponent after recording three and five shots against West Virginia University and Virginia Tech University, respectively. The Hoosiers outshot the Cardinals 12-6, with eight of their shots coming in the second half, but they could not convert any to a goal.
[Related: Indiana women's soccer welcomes Ball State for home opener Thursday]
“I don’t know if that makes it better or worse, to be honest,” head coach Erwin van Bennekom said regarding his team’s increase in offensive production. “We just didn’t create enough quality opportunities.”
Indiana had plenty of chances to score. The team saw 11 corner kicks, including eight in the second half, but could only convert those to two shots on goal. Junior forward Anna Bennett took most of the Hoosiers’ corner kicks, but miscommunication and a lack of execution led to ball misplacement and low-percentage shots.
“We’ve got to build up and play forward, and we’re not sharp enough,” van Bennekom said. “It’s not just the scoring part. It’s everything leading up to that.”
Fortunately, for an understaffed Hoosier defense, the ball remained on Indiana’s side of the field for the majority of the second half.
One of Indiana’s most aggressive defenders, freshman Arianna Rose, exited the game in the 56th minute due to what van Bennekom said he thinks is an ankle injury. Still, Indiana and sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg were able to contain a couple Ball State attacks late in the second half.
[Related: Indiana sophomore Jamie Gerstenberg named Big Ten Co-Goalkeeper of the Week]
“(Gerstenberg) is a good goalkeeper, but today we didn’t need her that much,” van Bennekom said. “If you go back to last weekend, she was unbelievable, and we’re fortunate to have her here.”
The sophomore standout recorded her 12th career shutout with one crucial save in the final minutes of the match. Even without the same outstanding stats as her first two games, Gerstenberg’s commanding impact was felt through and through.
Indiana will return to the field on Thursday, Sept. 1, against Indiana State University. The exact location in Bloomington has not been announced, due to the uncertain condition in the next few days of Jerry Yeagley Field.