Even with sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg back in net, Indiana women’s soccer dropped another result, this time 2-0 to Nebraska at home Sunday afternoon. Indiana drops to 2-4-6 and 0-4-1 in the Big Ten while Nebraska advances to 5-4-4 overall and 3-1-1 in conference play.
“Again, a loss and then zeroes on the board is a tough one to swallow,” head coach Erwin van Bennekom said after the match. “Humbling to be honest.”
Similar to the football game between the two schools Saturday night, Nebraska jumped out ahead almost immediately. Less than 90 seconds into the match, senior defender Megan Wampler was called for a handball inside the penalty area, giving the Cornhuskers a golden opportunity to score from the spot.
Nebraska junior forward Eleanor Dale made no mistake from 12 yards out as her shot beat Gerstenberg to the bottom left corner to give the Huskers a dream start.
It was the first time this season that Indiana conceded within the first half hour, but it gave them plenty of time to find an equalizer.
The rest of the half was physical as Nebraska pushed the pace in the hopes of finding a second goal. Indiana was able to slow the visitors down and, despite being significantly outplayed in the first half, the Hoosiers went into the locker room only down by one. Nebraska outshot Indiana 9-3 and controlled the majority of the possession in the first 45 minutes.
Indiana responded by coming out of the break strong in the second half, generating 10 total shots.
“Credit to the team, I thought especially in the second half we responded well,” van Bennekom said.
Van Bennekom said the better play in the second half was mostly due to a change of shape that allowed Indiana to gain more possession in the opponent’s half.
But, just like every other conference game this season, none of the Hoosiers’ shots found the back of the net. The best chance of the match for Indiana fell to freshman midfielder Izzy Smith in the 70th minute, but once she found space for a shot from close range, junior goalkeeper Sami Hauk made the save with her right foot.
Unlike Indiana, Nebraska was able to score in the second half. Sophomore forward Sarah Weber capitalized on a counterattack, beating sophomore defender Zoe Tiger before chipping the ball over Gerstenberg. The ball rolled into the side of the net before senior midfielder Alaina Kalin could clear it off the line, making the score 2-0.
Gerstenberg finished with just one save on the afternoon in her return, while Hauk needed to stop four shots to preserve the shutout. Both teams finished the match with 13 shots and three on goal.
Indiana has now lost four straight games, all by multiple goals. The last time Indiana lost four straight was 2018, and its streak of not scoring stretches to nine conference games dating back to last season.
“We got a lot of work to do,” van Bennekom said.
Indiana has a week off before its next match, a road test next Sunday against No. 10 Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are the reigning Big Ten regular season champions and are off to another hot start this season, sitting at 11-1-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the Big Ten.
The match kicks off at 4 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.