Following an impressive 2-0 victory last Thursday over the University of Louisville, Indiana women’s soccer welcomed Division III opponent Hanover College into Bill Armstrong Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Hoosiers went into the game as heavy favorites, expected to earn a dominant victory on Senior Day Sunday before starting conference play.
Those expectations were met early on, when in the 15th minute senior midfielder Anna Bennett launched a shot from just outside the 18-yard box, ricocheting off the Hanover keeper. Fortunately for the Hoosiers, graduate forward position Paige Webber found herself in the right spot at the right time, tapping in the deflection for an easy goal. The score gave Webber her sixth goal of the season, but she wasn't finished there.
In the 20th minute, the connection of Bennett to Webber struck once more, when Webber headed in Bennett’s corner for her second goal of the match. Head coach Erwin van Bennekom had remarked on Bennet’s skill in taking set pieces throughout the season.
“We have a great set piece taker in Anna Bennet,” van Bennekom said following the teams win over Louisville. “And now we also have a few players who can actually head the ball into the net, so we’re doing okay”
Indiana’s final score of the first half would come in the 40th minute, as birthday girl Ava Akeel netted her first goal of the season. The redshirt sophomore forward put the Hoosiers up 3-0 going into halftime.
The first half would conclude with Indiana outshooting Hanover 25-0. After halftime, the Hoosiers' offensive onslaught would continue.
Webber achieved Indiana’s first hat trick of the season off of a perfect cross from freshman midfielder Kennedy Neighbors in the 50th minute. In the 57th minute Webber once more found a pass from Bennett to put the Hoosiers up 5-0, scoring a remarkable fourth goal of the game. The performance brought Webber’s season total to nine, the second most in the Big Ten.
The final goal of the game would come in the 64th minute, after sophomore forward Sarah Sirdah found the end of a long cross to earn her first goal of the season and put Indiana up by six.
Senior Day was truly a celebration for the Hoosiers, as Indiana ended the day with a season-high 43 shots and six goals. The Hoosiers next game will be against Rutgers on Thursday afternoon, when the Scarlet Knights will travel to Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington. The game is set to kickoff at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus.