Indiana women’s soccer established itself as a strong defensive team throughout the season. Entering the NCAA Tournament, the Hoosiers allowed 0.74 goals per game, ranking inside the top 40 teams in the country. On the contrary, the cream and crimson averaged 1.6 goals per game during the regular season, which ranked outside of the top-100 in the country.
However, St. Louis has had a stellar defense throughout the season as it came in only allowing 0.48 goals per game, ranking eighth in the country. Entering this game, St. Louis had not conceded a goal in a program-record 10 consecutive games.
While St. Louis has a top-10 defense in the country, they also were second in the country in scoring with 67 total goals. The Billikens are just one of two teams in the country that is ranked top 10 in goals scored and goals against.
St. Louis wasted no time putting pressure on the Hoosiers’ back line early in the match. The Billikens dominated possession early, drawing a penalty in the box in the 11th minute of the match when Hoosier freshman defender Piper Coffield committed a foul. St. Louis senior midfielder Abbie Miller struck the penalty kick past Indiana junior goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg.
St. Louis added another goal in the 30th minute off a corner kick as redshirt junior Hannah Larson crossed a pass in and senior midfielder Anna Lawler headed the ball into the back of the net. That goal would be the 38th straight unanswered goal for the Billikens across an 11-game stretch.
In all three of the Hoosier losses this season, Indiana had given up multiple goals early in the match and found itself desperate on the offensive end for the rest of the match looking to equalize. This was the case for the Hoosiers once again, only this time their season was on the line.
Indiana’s offense struggled to keep possession and create clean looks at goal. The Hoosiers tallied a total of 17 shots but were only able to put four of those shots on target and didn’t convert any of those opportunities into goals. Freshman midfielder Elle Britt recorded a match high seven shots with two of them on goal.
Indiana cleaned up its possession in the second half of the game but still struggled in the final third. The Billikens increased their program record of consecutive shutouts to 11 as they continued to use their aggressive style of defense to prevent the Hoosiers from scoring. St. Louis was called for 11 fouls in the game, establishing its aggressiveness throughout the 90 minutes of play.
The Hoosiers finish the season with a record of 12-4-4, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years.
While the Hoosiers fell short, they were able to quadruple their win total from three last season to 12 this season. Indiana has several positives to take away from this season. The Hoosiers will have four players graduating with many key pieces from this season’s squad set to return.