In the first month of Indiana women’s soccer’s season, there was a common theme: 0-0 draws. Six of the first eight matches ended with that scoreline, and just like last season, Indiana’s backbone was a defense led by sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg. Gerstenberg racked up seven shutouts at the beginning of the year, bringing her career total to 16.
Through 85 minutes of play in an eventual 1-0 loss to Maryland, it appeared that Indiana would pick up its seventh goalless draw of the season Thursday in the season’s final match at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Both offenses were stagnant, and it seemed, for the second year in a row, the matchup would finish 0-0.
But, an 86th minute goal on the counterattack by Maryland senior forward Alina Stahl gave the Terrapins a breakthrough that allowed them to snap a seven-match losing streak. The goal was Stahl’s fifth of the season to create the first and only lead of the night.
What was once Indiana’s strength has now turned into a question mark. After the loss to the Terps, the Hoosiers have been unable to keep the opponent off the board in eight straight matches, all in conference play, going 0-7-1 in that span.
The game, much like the season after 16 games, was a tale of two halves. Indiana led in shots 6-4 and shots on goal 4-2 and controlled the majority of possession in the first half. In the first eight matches of this season, Indiana didn’t concede a single goal.
Then, everything started to go downhill. Maryland dominated the second half, recording nine shots on goal, matching Indiana’s total in the match.
Head coach Erwin van Bennekom said his side “didn’t have the quality on the ball” in the first half hour compared to the final hour. The problem of passing the ball to the wrong team continued again tonight, which led to the only goal.
Indiana will hit the road again for its final match of the season in hopes of picking up its and sole first conference win of the season. Indiana has not gone winless in conference play since 2015.
Van Bennekom said, since the match is so low-stakes and the team is playing just for pride, he might give the upperclassmen significant minutes in their final collegiate match.
“We’ll think about it, and especially (graduate goalkeeper) Bethany (Kopel) might play something, that’s for sure,” van Bennekom said.
Indiana will play Michigan on Sunday. The Wolverines are 2-5-2 in conference play with eight points, six ahead of Indiana. First kick from Ann Arbor is at 2 p.m.