Indiana women’s soccer’s struggles continued in conference play Thursday night when it lost 4-0 to Ohio State at Bill Armstrong Stadium. This is the first time Indiana conceded four goals in a match since Sept. 20, 2018, when the Hoosiers lost 4-3 to Nebraska in overtime.
Ohio State came into the match receiving five votes in the latest rankings after winning 2-0 at home against Iowa on Sunday and took the momentum into Bloomington. The Buckeyes finished with 23 total shots, 12 shots on goal and a valuable 3 points.
The Buckeyes now sit on 7 points through four Big Ten matches, while Indiana has just one through the same number of games played.
Indiana was shorthanded coming into the match given that sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg was serving her one-game suspension after being shown a red card during the first half of Sunday’s loss to Wisconsin. The Hoosiers had no response for the relentless Buckeyes attack from the first minute.
Ohio State was knocking on the door of the opening goal for a while and finally got it in the 20th minute. Junior midfielder Kine Flotre picked out sophomore forward Kailyn Dudukovich with a through ball, and she beat graduate goalkeeper Bethany Kopel one on one and slotted the ball home for the breakthrough. Flotre had three assists on the night.
Van Bennekom said the team created some chances in that first half but practically none in the second, which explains why the Buckeyes scored three more times in the final 45 minutes.
The second Buckeyes goal came in the 54th minute courtesy of a header from junior midfielder Peyton McNamara following a save from Kopel.
The final two goals came within four minutes of each other. Senior defender Kitty Jones-Black scored a beautiful goal, curling one into the top right corner in the 64th minute. Then, senior forward Kayla Fischer scored a solo goal in the 68th minute to put the icing on the cake.
Since Gerstenberg was unavailable, Kopel got the start for Indiana and tallied eight saves on twelve shots on goal. Van Bennekom said he disagreed with the red card that Gerstenberg was issued, but he said that had no bearing on the result tonight.
“I feel bad for (Kopel), potentially one of her last games of her career,” van Bennekom said.
Despite the negativity surrounding the team at the moment, van Bennekom made it clear that his goal for the next match doesn’t change: win.
When asked if there’s one thing the team needs to work on the most heading into the next match, van Bennekom sarcastically said “playing the ball to the same color. That should lead to more scoring opportunities.”
Dating back to last season, it’s been eight straight matches where Indiana has not scored against a Big Ten opponent.
“That really doesn’t feel good,” van Bennekom said after the match. “We’ve got to change that. It sucks.”
Indiana’s search for its first Big Ten win this season continues, and the next chance for them to win one is Sunday, when they host Nebraska. Gerstenberg will be available in the match that kicks off at 1 p.m. at Bill Armstrong Stadium.