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Analysis: Keeping composure, capitalizing on opportunities will be key for Indiana women’s soccer in Big Ten play

A goal in the 15th minute from Michigan State would eventually decide the game between the Spartans and Indiana, as the Hoosiers suffered their first loss in conference play by a tally of 1-0. It seemed as though Indiana got down after a defensive breakdown that led to an MSU goal, so keeping emotions in check will be a key focus for the Hoosiers’ next game.

Although it is very early in conference play, Indiana will look to improve in a few areas before the team’s next Big Ten test. Indiana led the Spartans 19-8 in shots attempted on goal, so capitalizing on offense will definitely be a focus this week in practice in preparation for the Iowa Hawkeyes Thursday night.

Michigan State and Indiana went back and forth to begin the game. The Spartans started off by getting a couple shots on goal and putting some early pressure on Jaime Gerstenberg. However, the Hoosiers responded with a little run of their own. Anna Bennett and Jordan Levy had some good looks early on, but the Michigan State defense was in place and blocked the shots.

Right as it had looked like the momentum had shifted in the Hoosiers’ favor, MSU’s Camryn Evan drew first blood 15 minutes into the game to put the Spartans up 1-0. The goal seemed like it frustrated Indiana a little bit defensively, as the Hoosiers committed a couple of fouls in the ensuing minutes after the score. The two teams would end up going back and forth some more, but there were no more scores and IU went into the halftime locker room down 1-0.

Indiana came out hot right out of the gate to begin the second half. Levy and Jordan Blitchok had some really good opportunities to tie the game, but those shots were off the mark. The Indiana defense also had a hard time stopping Michigan State’s Ava Cook, as she got two quick shots on goal in just five minutes of play.

Head coach Erwin Van Bennekom made some substitutions later in the half in order to get some fresh legs in the half. That happened to help the Hoosiers, as the team made a really strong offensive surge late in the game. Paige Webber and Avery Lockwood got some good looks on goal thanks to some great playmaking from Bennett. But unfortunately for the Hoosiers, Spartan goalie Lauren Kozal made some big time saves and the Hoosiers ended up losing the game 1-0.

Indiana now stands at 6-2-1 overall and now starts 0-1 in Big Ten play. A home loss like this is not the end of the world, but with Indiana outshooting MSU by 11, this could have definitely been a big win for the Hoosiers. Indiana has another opportunity to bounce back from this loss on Thursday night. IU will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at Bill Armstrong Stadium, in hopes of getting back to .500 in conference play. The Hawkeyes stand at a strong 7-1-1 coming off a 2-1 win against Northwestern on Sunday, so this will be no easy task for Indiana.

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