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Indiana women's soccer fights to a draw at Ohio State

In a hard-fought battle to the end, the Indiana women’s soccer team tied the Ohio State Buckeyes on the road 1-1 on Thursday night. Jen Blitchok had a big night offensively, scoring the only goal of the night while tacking on five more shots on goal. A solid game on the road will pay big dividends in preparing what will be a huge challenge for the Hoosiers on Sunday.

The start of the game was not one the Hoosiers wished for, as the Buckeyes got on the board in just the first eight minutes. Kayla Fischer, OSU’s team leader in points, put the Hoosiers in a difficult position early on as they were forced to climb uphill in order to equalize the game. As the teams continued to take shots back and forth, both defenses stood strong and the Buckeyes continued to hang onto the lead on IU. 

However, Indiana found some offensive momentum as the first period progressed. Blitchok, Anna Bennett and Avery Lockwood all had some great chances on goal and did a good job getting other teammates involved. Although the shots didn’t go to the back of the net, the Hoosiers controlled the game offensively, and looked like they could find some ways to equalize the game at one heading into the half.

Indiana continued that momentum from the end of the first half, as Blitchok and Jordyn Levy got some shots up to put pressure on OSU goalie Bailey Kolinski. After a response by the Buckeyes offensively, Blitchok was able to equalize the game and put one into the far right side of the net off a corner kick. After the goal, Indiana’s confidence was through the roof offensively.

Both teams had lots of chances as they approached the end of the game and the game was still tied. However, both defenses did a really good job of holding strong when emotions were running high. Jaime Gerstenberg had some enormous saves to stop a red-hot Buckeye offense coming into this game. As the clock hit triple zeroes, Indiana headed into its second extra time game of the season. 

The Hoosiers had a very good chance to win the game at the start of the first overtime off a corner kick. The referee went to the replay to check if the ball had crossed the line, but referees ruled that Ohio State stopped the ball before the goal line and play resumed. Indiana dominated what was a quiet first overtime, having the only two shots in the period.

The Buckeyes looked strong in the second overtime, getting some big shots early on and putting some major on Gerstenberg and the back line. The defense held on with the limited offense Indiana had and the Hoosiers were able to tie Ohio State in Thursday night’s contest. A strong defensive stand against a quality opponent is a step in the right direction for Erwin van Bennekom and company, as they continue the gauntlet that is the Big Ten conference. 

IU now stands at 8-2-2, with a tough task coming up next week. The Hoosiers take on the No. 17-ranked Michigan Wolverines back in Bloomington on Sunday. This will be the toughest task for Indiana has thus far, so playing a near-perfect game on both sides of the field is going to be huge in order to pull out what could be a season-defining win in a couple of days.

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