Indiana women’s soccer looked to find a bounce-back victory to finish its regular season on a high note in Sunday’s match. Following a hard-fought loss to No.4 Penn State, the Hoosiers had the chance to find one last win before the postseason as they traveled to College Park to take on Maryland. The Terrapins were winless in Big Ten play going into the game and that trend continued when the final whistle blew.
Graduate forward Paige Webber gave the Hoosiers their first goal when, in the 17th minute, she chased down a long pass from senior midfielder Anna Bennett and slid the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. Indiana’s leading scorer scored her 12th goal of the year, but it was her first goal since Sept. 17 during a 3-2 win over Rutgers.
In the second half, Indiana found its second goal off another Bennett assist. A set piece free kick outside of the 18-yard box allowed Bennett to thread a cross right to the foot of junior defender Lauren Costello who slotted the shot into the net. The La Salle University transfer now has two goals in the season and is third on the team in total points.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Hoosiers lived up to their stingy reputation as the third-best defense in goals allowed within the conference, limiting Maryland to five total shots and one shot on goal. Junior goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg needed to make just one save, but it was enough to earn a 10th shutout of the year. The all-time program record holder now has 25 career clean sheets.
With the victory, Indiana finished its regular season with a 12-2-4 record. Following a 2022 campaign where the Hoosiers finished 3-7-7, the 2023 Indiana squad has far exceeded expectations being ranked last in the Big Ten preseason polls and, for the first time since 2013, will be competing in the postseason.
The Hoosiers now set their sights on the Big Ten Tournament, as the quarterfinals begin Oct. 29. After finishing as the fifth seed in the conference, the Hoosiers will have to take on the fourth-seeded team in the conference on the road.
Penn State’s loss to Wisconsin on Sunday means the Nittany Lions will provide the first obstacle in the Hoosiers’ NCAA Tournament aspirations. The kickoff time for that matchup is yet to be announced, and the game will be broadcast on Big Ten+.