The Indiana University women’s soccer team suffered their first loss of the season, falling 3-0 to South Florida at Bill Armstrong Stadium on Friday night.
Most of the first half against the Bulls depicted a very physical, aggressive bout that appeared to be evenly-matched. But thirty minutes and one South Florida score later, the picture changed.
After half an hour of stout defense from both squads, South Florida forward Sharla Passariello kicked the Bulls onto the scoreboard with a one-goal lead after a 50-50 ball left an Indiana defender on the ground and then found its way to the eager leg of Passariello, who then scored easily from six yards out.
The match was a slugfest as contact was frequent, and stoppages were few, the referees choosing to allow aggressive play to continue more often than not.
The Hoosiers hung with the Bulls well through the first half, but South Florida’s scrappy defense proved faster, more aggressive, and virtually impenetrable, as they withstood every Hoosier attack, gradually wearing the home team down. As play continued into the second half, South Florida only became more aggressive, whereas Indiana became sloppy and began turning the ball over, leading to more opportunities for the Bulls offense, which outshot Indiana 13-8.
Eventually, Passariello would strike again fifteen minutes into the second half, sending a 25-yard bullet into the upper-right corner of the net, catching Indiana goalkeeper Shannon Flower and her teammates slightly off-guard. A defensive breakdown shortly thereafter led to the Bulls’ third and final goal, a chip-in by Ana Paola Lopez.
The Hoosiers entered the match focused and energized but faltered to South Florida’s stingy defense and seemingly endless endurance. Indiana’s increasing frustration with their inability to create offense became apparent in their play as ball movement and defense deteriorated.
The Hoosiers fall to 2-1-0 on the season, but will attempt to rebound against the Missouri State Bears (2-2-0) on Sunday in Bloomington.