by Garrett Winegar
After a heartbreaking loss against the Fighting Illini on Friday, the Lady Hoosiers bounced back on Sunday with a 1-0 victory against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Letting a victory slip away in the waning moments against Illinois left a sour taste in the mouths of the Hoosiers, who were eager to get back on the pitch against Northwestern. “We thought we deserved to win on Friday, but we didn’t,” said Hoosier forward Orianica Velasquez.
The Hoosiers, now 6-6-1 on the season, looked to get a boost off the bench against the Wildcats (4-7-2), as they made a surprise change at goalkeeper, giving freshman Sarah Stone the first start of her young career. Head Coach Mick Lyon said the move to Sarah against Northwestern wasn’t a negative on former starter Shannon Flower, but rather he liked Sarah’s abilities against Northwestern’s style of play. “They (Northwestern) pump a lot of balls into the box and Sarah is a terrific athlete and she’s great at getting off the ground and grabbing balls in the air,” stated Lyon.
With each squad entering the contest at 0-4 in Big Ten play, both came in thirsty for a victory.
Though Indiana attempted more shots, neither team showed a significant advantage in the first half, as most of the half was a battle for possession with little action in the box. Hoosier forwards Orianica Velasquez and Rebecca Chandler were the aggressors in the first, each attempting two shots and looking to force some action, but neither was able to get a shot on goal. The Hoosier defense was impressive in the first, allowing only one shot-attempt from the Wildcats.
Northwestern looked to pick up their aggressiveness in the second half, and the action picked up quickly as the Wildcats got a shot on goal less than two minutes into the half. The shot narrowly missed, ricocheting off the top crossbar and bouncing near the goal line as Hoosier goalkeeper Sarah Stone dove on the ball just before it crossed into the goal.
Fifteen minutes into the second half the Hoosiers were able to break the scoreless streak with a goal from forward Rebecca Chandler off an assist from Orianica Velasquez. Chandler was able to get her head on the ball, which took a fortuitous bounce over the Northwestern goaltender’s head and into the goal.
With a 1-0 lead late in the game, the Hoosiers found themselves in the same situation they were in against Illinois, only this time they did not let the lead slip away.
Stone was a big contributor, recording six saves in the game, five of which came in the second half. Her performance did not go unnoticed, “Sarah Stone in her first college start was big-time, and that was very, very impressive,” said Coach Lyon.
Stone believes that the victory will build the teams confidence and lead to bigger things, stating, “The whole team is very confident now, not that we weren’t before but I think this just boosts it a little more… I think that will really lead into some more wins in the Big Ten.”