At the tail end of a back and forth first half, Indiana was the first to break through. In the 42nd minute, sophomore forward Ava Akeel sent a cross into Michigan State’s 18-yard box. Following an awkward deflection off a Spartan defender, the ball spun into the air just below the crossbar and above the leaping goalkeeper. The own goal gave the Hoosiers the 1-0 lead as the whistle blew, marking the end of the initial 45 minutes of play.
It wouldn't take long for Michigan State to find an equalizer when an impressive run set up senior midfielder Justina Gaynor just outside of the Hoosiers' 18-yard box. A powerful left-footed blast from the Butler transfer pushed the ball past the diving arms of junior goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg and into the Indiana net, tying the game 1-1 in the 48th minute.
Looking at the box score, it would appear the two sides were even in the second half with both squads tallying five shots on goal. In actuality, the Hoosiers were constantly on their heels throughout the second period as the Spartans dominated time of possession and controlled the pace of the game.
Fortunately for Indiana, the Big Ten’s third-best defense in opponents' goals per game (.60) proved its worth and kept Michigan State without another score, holding onto a 1-1 draw.
Following the game, IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom commented on the team's ability to keep the score level.
“We always say if we can't win the game, then let's not lose it,” van Bennekom stated “And I think we showed enough mentality to do that.”
The Hoosiers lone goal of the game came from the Spartans’ own goal and the Indiana offense has not scored multiple goals since Sept. 21 against the University of Illinois. When asked if the lack of scoring was a concern, van Bennekom wasn’t worried.
“No,” van Bennekom said. “Because if you win 1-0 — I don't care. Because we play in the Big Ten. We play in the second-ranked league in the country. Last year we weren't scoring and now we're scoring enough goals to win games or tie games.”
Indiana will stay in Bloomington as it hosts Michigan on Sunday. The Wolverines rank sixth in the conference but have received top 25 votes throughout the year. The game is set to kick off at 3 p.m. and will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus.