It had been almost nine years — 3,270 days — since Indiana women’s soccer won against Purdue. Although four of the last eight matchups ended in a draw, the Hoosiers never found a path to victory. Yet, in a 2023 season where Indiana has just one loss through its first 14 games, the Hoosiers put together a stifling defensive performance to earn a 1-0 win over the Boilermakers.
Fans were still settling into their seats on a chilly fall afternoon in West Lafayette when Indiana scored the game's only goal. Following an early throw-in, a failed Boilermaker clearance delivered the ball to the right foot of senior midfielder Anna Bennett. The Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer (4) drilled a shot off the right post and into the net giving Indiana a 1-0 lead, just 37 seconds into the match.
Defense prevailed on both sides of the pitch for the remaining 89 minutes, as the in-state rivals combined for an additional eight shots on goal, all of which were met by the hands of the respective goalkeepers. Indiana junior goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg only needed a pair of saves to earn her 23rd career shutout, tying former teammate Bethany Kopel for the most in program history.
“If you just look at Jamie’s performance over the whole season, she has made us look good,” assistant coach Tim Verschuren said following the team's 0-0 draw against Minnesota on Oct. 1. “As well, the backline and the rest of the team has made her look good so it's a whole team effort.”
A whole team effort was necessary for Indiana to come out of a hostile away environment with, not just a win, but a trophy as well. Purdue still leads the series 16-5-6, but the Golden Boot will return to Bloomington for the first time since 2014.
Indiana’s next match will be Thursday when it welcomes Michigan State into Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington. The matchup will have major implications at the top of the Big Ten table as both teams sit at 4-1-1 — tied for second in the conference. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus.