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Thursday, Feb. 29
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Early deficit too much for Indiana women’s soccer to overcome against No. 15 Michigan State

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The Indiana women’s soccer team lost its sixth consecutive match in a 1-0 defeat against No. 15 Michigan State Thursday in East Lansing, Michigan. The outing extended the Hoosiers’ scoreless conference streak to 10 games, dating back to the 2021 season. 

Indiana came into the contest attempting to rebound from a close loss to then-No. 10 Rutgers on Oct. 9, where the Hoosier defense stayed solid for the first half and conceded just one goal in the 61st minute of play. However, the matchup against the Spartans looked the opposite.  

[Related: Indiana women’s soccer drops fifth straight against No. 10 Rutgers in 1-0 loss

It didn’t take long for sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg and the rest of Indiana’s defensive line to show a fatal weakness, as Michigan State junior midfielder Zivana Labovic netted a goal at the 4:59 mark to give the Spartans an early 1-0 lead. Gerstenberg and the Hoosier defense have been the steadiest facet of the team throughout the season, and it was evident in the goalie’s frustration that the Spartan score was a fluke of miscommunication. 

Still, Indiana’s stagnant offense was on full display, unable to bring the Hoosiers back within striking distance for the duration of the match. Indiana recorded just four shots with three on goal compared to Michigan State’s 16 total and six on goal.  

The Michigan State goal in the fifth minute of play was the only quality scoring action throughout the match, and Indiana head coach Erwin van Bennekom saw an all-too-familiar flaw in his team’s performance. 

The Hoosiers have not only gone 10-straight Big Ten matches without scoring a goal, but they have recorded eight goals across a mere two games this season. Five goals came against Division III opponent Trine University and the other three against Indiana State University. Outside of six losses in the 2022 campaign, the rest of the Hoosiers’ record consists of six 0-0 draws. 

However, in van Bennekom’s mind, only one thing truly matters: winning. 

“That doesn’t feel good, and we definitely need to change that,” van Bennekom said after a Sept. 29 match against Ohio State. “I don’t feel pressure because (we’re not scoring). I feel pressure because we’re not winning.” 

Indiana will have just three more chances to hop into the win category during the regular season, and its next matchup comes against in-state rival Purdue. The Hoosiers will take on the Boilermakers at 2 p.m. Oct. 16 in Bloomington. 

Follow reporters Emma Pawlitz (@emmapawlitz) and Austin Platt (@AustinPlatter) for updates throughout the Indiana women’s soccer season. 
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