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Offense goes cold as Indiana women's soccer suffers shutout loss at Penn State

On an unusually quiet night on offense, the IU women’s soccer team suffered its worst loss of the season with a 3-0 defeat to the Penn State Nittany Lions on the road. Although Penn State only outshot the Hoosiers by two, the Nittany Lions were much more efficient and got higher quality looks than IU did. 

In their first loss in almost a month, this might just be the humbling defeat the Hoosiers need to focus up for the most important part of the season.

The Hoosiers had a wake up call from the get-go. Two early shots in the first three minutes from Penn State immediately put pressure on Jaime Gerstenberg and the Indiana back line. Amid this early offensive dominance from the Nittany Lions, frustration mounted for IU, as Alaina Kalin was called for a yellow card just minutes later. 

Indiana began to settle down and get its offense going as the game progressed. Anna Bennett and Avery Lockwood both had great looks at the back of the net, but PSU goalie Katherine Asman made some spectacular saves to keep Indiana scoreless. After the two teams continued to trade the momentum on offense, disaster struck for the Hoosiers.

With just under five minutes to go in the first half, Penn State’s Jordan Canniff scored her first goal of the season in the bottom right corner to put Indiana at a 1-0 deficit. After many fouls from the Hoosiers, the goal was bound to happen after the amount of second chances Indiana gave PSU. 

Just nine minutes into the second half, Hanna Nemeth committed a costly foul in the box that hurt the confidence Indiana had going on offense. This turned into a penalty kick goal for the Nittany Lions to extend the lead to 2-0. A goal like this not only let down the hopes of the offense for finally getting some momentum, but the defense as well for playing a great first 10 minutes of the second half.

As the Hoosiers began to move the ball after Penn State’s second goal, the Nittany Lions struck again. Caniff scored her second goal of the game in the 65th minute to put the game out of reach for an Indiana comeback. After this, head coach Erwin van Bennekom made a couple of big group substitutions to give some other players some minutes and rest the starters. 

On a night with not a lot of positives, van Bennekom and company saw some good things during these final minutes. Anna Aehling and Bria Telamaque had great looks on offense in what was an unusually quiet night for the Hoosier offense. However, those shots did not fall through the back of the net and Indiana would suffer a tough 3-0 loss. The Hoosiers let in as many goals Wednesday as they did in the past five games combined, so there will be some good lessons to take away from Wednesday’s defeat.

This loss puts IU at 9-3-3 overall and 3-2-2 in Big Ten play. Indiana approaches the home stretch of its schedule, as the team will wrap up conference play in just over two weeks. The Hoosiers’ final stop on the three-game road trip will be in College Park, where they will face the Maryland Terrapins. Indiana will need to play much better on both sides of the ball in order to beat a Terrapin team who is hungry for its first conference win of the season.

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