Two goals in the span of two minutes would be the ultimate difference maker in a gritty 2-1 win for IU women’s soccer over Western Michigan on Thursday. Jen Blitchok had a big goal to tie the game, but freshman Jordyn Levy’s second goal of the season was a big one to put the Hoosiers on top and eventually decide the game. Head coach Erwin van Bennekom is proud of the freshman’s effort thus far.
“This is why we recruited her,” van Bennekom said. “I have known Jordyn since I’ve been at Duke and recruiting her there. I always joke that she doesn’t have a left foot and then she [scores] off her left foot. So great goal for her, and second of the season, so good stuff.”
The Hoosiers came out hot right out of the gate, getting a couple of early shots on goal to put some pressure on the Bronco defense. Anna Bennett and Melanie Forbes did a great job of moving without the ball to get open and get some quality offensive shots. Indiana also had two great looks on a corner kick, but WMU goalie Rose Dumford did not let the ball go to the back of the net early on.
Indiana kept up the strong offensive push as the first half came to a close. Jordyn Levy set up her teammates with great looks, but Dumford continued to play an outstanding half. Outshooting Western Michigan 14-1 in the first half, it seemed like it would be eventually time that the Hoosiers get on the board.
However, with three minutes to go in the first half, disaster struck. On a Hoosier defensive miscue, Western Michigan was able to create a two-on-one opportunity and the Broncos struck first. The Hoosiers went into the locker room down 1-0, hoping to capitalize on some of those offensive opportunities they had the majority of the half. The players knew they had to stay positive in order to get back in the game.
“We were all really positive, but we still had to hold each other accountable,” Blitchok said. “But we knew if we got runs in and chances in the box we would be able to come back.”
The Hoosiers got that offensive confidence they needed to start the second half, as Blitchok put one behind the net just 10 minutes into the second half. After 18 shot attempts, it sure was a morale booster to see one of them connect and tie the game at one. However, the Hoosiers were not finished.
Just a couple of minutes later, Levy scored to give IU a 2-1 lead over Western Michigan. From that point on, it felt like Indiana had complete control of the game and the Broncos had lost all of the momentum they had from scoring late in the first half.
IU’s defense did a great job controlling the ball and finding open teammates to hold off a feisty Western Michigan team. Goalkeeper Jaime Gurstenberg made some gritty plays and the rest of the back line did a great job in stealing the ball from WMU. This allowed the Hoosier forwards to control the ball and chew some clock. As the clock hit triple zeroes, Indiana claimed a nice bounce-back win 2-1 over Western Michigan. For the team, this does a lot for the momentum going forward.
“I think this just proves we can come back from a loss,” Blitchok said. “In the past I think it’s brought us down but we got right past it and moved along to the next game.”
This win puts Indiana at 3-1-1 on the season, as conference play is approaching slowly but surely. The Hoosiers’ next test will be another home game against Southeast Missouri State. The Redhawks stand at 0-1 with a loss to Evanston Thursday night. Indiana will need to play just like it did in the second half in order to beat a hungry Redhawk team.