For the first time in 373 days, Indiana women’s soccer scored a goal in conference play. However, the end of the scoring drought did not result in a win, as Indiana and Purdue settled for a thrilling 2-2 draw Sunday afternoon at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
The draw was the seventh of the season, breaking a program record for most in a season. Indiana had six 0-0 draws in the first eight matches of the campaign.
With the result, both teams remain winless in conference play and have been eliminated from Big Ten Tournament contention. Purdue retains the Golden Boot Trophy for the eighth consecutive season.
Despite the disappointment, head coach Erwin van Bennekom said he was proud of his team for its display and felt a draw did not reflect its performance.
“Today was probably the best overall performance of the season,” van Bennekom said. “We’ve been proud of this team especially in this spell to have this mentality and this many chances. I think we deserved to win.”
Indiana hadn’t scored in over a month coming into the match and had gone 23 straight halves without scoring against a Big Ten opponent.
The Hoosiers came out with a purpose at the start of the game, pressuring Purdue within its own half, creating many scoring chances within the first half hour of the match.
However, Purdue took the lead in the 28th minute off of a well-worked corner, which saw sophomore forward Gracie Dunaway score her team-leading sixth goal of the season. Dunaway took an excellent first touch on her left foot inside the box and then fired her shot to the left side of the net, giving Indiana sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg no chance to make the save.
Indiana responded with two goals in less than two minutes to take a 2-1 lead, the first time since Sept. 26, 2021, that Indiana scored twice in a single half in a conference match.
The first was an Olimpico from junior forward Anna Bennett. Her corner snuck into the goal without a touch from any other player, breaking the team’s goal-scoring drought and leading to an epic celebration on the Indiana sideline. It was Bennett’s second goal of the season and the seventh of her career.
Even van Bennekom was seen in the huddle near the bench, as he was relieved the team finally scored.
“I felt their emotion and think how they celebrated that goal,” van Bennekom said. “It’s like we won a national championship.”
By the time van Bennekom and the team could control their emotions after the first goal, Indiana potted another one to take the lead. Off a free kick from just within Purdue’s half of the field, senior defender Megan Wampler sent the ball forward towards the box. Sophomore forward Jordyn Levy headed the ball towards freshman midfielder Olivia Smith, who sliced the ball on the half-volley off the right post and in for her first career collegiate goal.
Indiana went into halftime with a lead for just the second time this season. Six of the 11 shots Indiana had in the first half were on goal, as freshman goalkeeper Kailey Kimball made four saves for Purdue.
In the second half, Indiana recorded seven more shots, but none of them found the back of the net. Instead, Purdue scored the equalizer in the 63rd minute courtesy of fifth-year senior Sydney Duarte. The goal came from a scramble in front of the Indiana goal following a Purdue corner, and after the initial shot was blocked off the line, Duarte cleaned up the rebound inside the 6-yard box to level the match at two.
Despite many late attempts, Indiana couldn’t find the late winner and had to settle for a draw. It’s the first time Indiana avoided a loss since the 0-0 stalemate against Penn State to open Big Ten play.
“I think in the second half we didn’t play as well as the first half,” van Bennekom said. “Nothing happened in the game that stopped us from scoring outside ourselves.”
Indiana finished with 18 total shots compared to Purdue’s eight. Indiana’s record improves to 2-6-7 and 0-6-2 in the Big Ten, last place in the standings. Purdue moves up a spot in the table and is now 3-9-3 on the season, 0-5-3 in the Big Ten.
Indiana will host Maryland in its last home game of the regular season on Oct. 20 at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.