Duncan Salek recaps the Hoosier women’s Friday night victory over Minnesota.
The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers visited the Hoosiers at Bill Armstrong Stadium Friday evening having won their past four meetings against Indiana, but thanks to IU’s brick wall of a defense, the Golden Gophers were scoreless in a 2-0 Indiana victory.
Senior defenders Molly Buynack and Ciersten Burks led the way for the Women’s defense, forcing several turnovers and perfectly containing Minnesota’s offensive threats, particularly sophomore forward Taylor Uhl.
“We just played our game,” Buynack said afterwards. “We knew [Uhl] was going to be a threat, but we’re all really comfortable with each other. We worked together and communicated, and keeping her in front of us was definitely a goal of the game.”
And keep her in front of them they did.
Coming into the game, Uhl had sixteen goals and nine assists in sixteen games, giving her the second-highest point total in the entire NCAA. It is tough for even the most elite defenses to contain such an offensive threat, but Indiana showed no signs of fear. Sarah Stone, IU’s freshman goalkeeper, was phenomenal in the net, earning her third shutout while knocking down seven shots on goal. Not to mention, Friday night was only Stone’s fifth career start for IU.
“[Sarah] makes big time saves,” Buynack added. “She has bigger saves than just a freshman…we’re really confident in her right now.”
“Confidence” has been a very fitting term for the Hoosier team as of late. Prior to Friday’s game, Indiana was sitting at eighth in the Big Ten standings. Minnesota was fourth.
Head Coach Mick Lyon was very pleased with his team’s play, especially with the Big Ten tournament nearing.
“The confidence level is very, very high,” he claimed, “and I think shows a lot in the organization of the players. They are extremely organized at the [defensive end].”
That is not to take anything away from the offense, though. In the twentieth minute of the first half, sophomore Abby Smith netted her fourth goal of the season off a Rebecca Candler assist to put the Hoosiers up 1-0. This was Smith’s first goal of the season that was not a game-winner. Then, with sixteen minutes left, senior Orianica Velasquez rifled one past Minnesota’s Cat Parkhill to seal a 2-0 victory. Junior Becca Zambon provided a beautiful pass to Velasquez, a Colombian native who played for her country’s team in the 2011 FIFA World Cup.
“It was something special,” Lyon said, regarding Velasquez’s goal. “That’s why that kind of player plays at the World Cup and Olympic level.”
With just two regular season games to play, the Hoosiers look to move up in the Big Ten standings. Their next game is at home on October 21 vs. Wisconsin. The Badgers will enter Bloomington just one conference win better than the Hoosiers, but if Indiana continues with its versatile offense and dam-like defense, there is no saying what this Indiana team is capable of accomplishing.