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Late-game dramatics in win over Illinois keep Indiana above .500 in Big Ten play

Two late goals helped seal what was a tremendous comeback victory for the IU women’s soccer team Sunday, as the Hoosiers defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini 2-1 to now stay above .500 in Big Ten play. Thanks to Paige Webber and Melanie Forbes, the Hoosier offense got back on track after a slow first half being down 1-0. Now getting back-to-back wins, Indiana hopes to continue this momentum into the rest of Big Ten play.

Forbes was a huge contributor in Sunday’s comeback win, as she recorded a team-high six shots on goal while scoring a huge goal in the 79th minute to put the Hoosiers up 2-1. Webber, Jordyn Levy and Anna Bennett also combined for four shots and created a lot of offensive opportunities. With so many offensive weapons, it’s hard to say Indiana is not looking like a contender to win the Big Ten this year.

Indiana did not get off to the start it wanted to at all, as Illinois put one in the back of the net just seven minutes into the ballgame. Now being on the receiving end of an early deficit, the Hoosiers needed to craft a gameplan to regroup on offense and try to equalize this game. As the game progressed, the two teams kept going back and forth with neither game having an advantage offensively.

Eventually, Indiana had some momentum going on offense by getting their first shots up on goal. Forbes and Levy, who continue to be offensive catalysts, were able to find ways to break through the Illini back line and get some solid chances for the Hoosiers. Unfortunately, Illinois goalie Naomi Jackson made some big saves to keep Indiana scoreless, and IU went into the locker room down 1-0 at the half.

The Hoosiers were able to sustain that momentum to start off the second half, as Bennett and Forbes continued to get shots on goal to try and equalize the game. Finally, the Hoosiers were able to tie things up as Webber snuck one in the top right corner of the goal off an assist from Bennett to make things 1-1. From this point on, it seemed as though Indiana had control of the game, but still needed that other goal to take the lead. 

And the Hoosiers got that in the 79th minute, as Forbes put one in the bottom left corner to give Indiana the lead with just over 10 minutes left in the game. Illinois made a strong push at the end, but the Indiana defense held on strong and took the win, 2-1. The Hoosiers now stand above .500 in Big Ten play, with a big challenge coming up this week.

Indiana takes on the Ohio State Buckeyes this Thursday in Columbus. The Buckeyes stand at 5-3 this year, and with it being the first conference road game of the season, Indiana will need to play a complete game on both sides of the field in order to earn a victory Thursday night.

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