The Indiana women’s soccer team continued its five-match losing streak and scoreless skid against Big Ten opponents with a 1-0 loss to No. 10 Rutgers Sunday afternoon. The Hoosiers’ last win against a conference foe came nearly a year ago on Oct. 8, 2021, against Northwestern.
Indiana entered the game facing a rowdy road environment in Piscataway, New Jersey, against one of the country’s and conference’s strongest teams. Rutgers’ only loss of the season had come against then-No. 17 Penn State, a team which Indiana drew in its Big Ten opener on Sept. 18.
The Hoosiers started the contest strong, taking control of possession with freshman midfielder Izzy Smith launching an early shot in the second minute. Once Rutgers gained the upper hand and took the ball into play through its attacking third, Indiana was still able to contain the offensive attack and stop the Scarlet Knights’ scoring attempts.
Indiana sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg recorded three saves in the first half. The first came from Rutgers sophomore forward Riley Tiernan in the 13th minute. Gerstenberg’s second and third saves came within two minutes of each other, after junior forward-midfielder Giana Romano and junior midfielder Sara Brocious attempted scores at the end of the half.
The beginning of the second half looked similar to the first, with the Indiana defense looking nearly impenetrable past the penalty box. With one grave error, though, the scope of the game changed just 15 minutes in.
Rutgers found itself on an offensive breakaway in the 61st minute, and Indiana junior defender Zoe Tiger committed a foul within the penalty box during the scramble. Rutgers midfielder Kylie Daigle took the free kick for the Scarlet Knights, and she lined her shot into the bottom right corner of the net past the long-reaching arms of Jamie Gerstenberg.
Gerstenberg ended the night with five saves and exponentially more action than Rutgers graduate goalkeeper Meagan McClelland, who only needed one save to keep the Hoosiers off the board. The penalty goal proved to make all the difference necessary for the Scarlet Knights, as they held onto their 1-0 lead for the remainder of the game.
The Hoosiers will continue their road trip to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on Michigan State on Thursday in hopes of an offensive awakening and an end to their discouraging losing streak.