Despite blowing out Purdue 4-0 on Friday, the MSU women’s soccer team couldn’t make back-to-back wins, losing to Indiana, 3-2, in double overtime Sunday afternoon.
Trailing 2-1 with just eight minutes remaining in the Indiana match, sophomore forward Allyson Krause tied the game with her fifth goal of the season. Krause took a pass from freshman midfielder Kaylee Phillips on the right side and broke away to find the left side of the net.
Though MSU (8-6-2 overall, 2-6-0 Big Ten) was able to force overtime, they couldn’t pull a victory. Indiana pressured the Spartan offense the entire overtime period and, with less than two minutes to go, Indiana midfielder Veronica Ellis kicked the game winner on the right side past sophomore goalkeeper Gabrielle Gauruder.
“After they scored that second goal, when we were down 2-1, it kind of lit a fire, and we had a lot of adrenaline; so to get that second goal to tie it was really nice,” junior forward Paige Wester said.
Indiana outshot MSU 17-14, pressured the MSU defense for much of the game and first scored in the 36th minute when Indiana midfielder Lisa Nouanesengsy knocked it past Gauruder from the right side toward the upper-left area of the net.
It did not take long for the Spartans to respond. Just 10 seconds later, sophomore forward Rachel Van Poppelen took a pass from Wester in the middle of the field from 10 yards out and netted her second goal of the season.
Indiana midfielder Kayleigh Steigerwalt also netted a goal for the Hoosiers in the 49th minute.
After Steigerwalt’s goal, MSU’s offense saw several opportunities, including a couple shots by Wester and junior midfielder Megan Marsack.
“We saw a lot of fight, heart and character out of our team today, but unfortunately we just didn’t have the legs,” head coach Tom Saxton said. “We’re patching things together in the back, and we were concerned, as a coaching staff, the entire second half and overtime about how our back line would hold up, and unfortunately that proved to be a concern.”
The Spartan defense was in their second consecutive match without senior defender and captain Kelsey Mullen.
Saxton said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of Mullen’s injury, but said it was similar to Wester’s knee injury earlier in the season. Wester missed five weeks because of the injury, and Saxton said Mullen would be out “for a little bit.”
Though he admitted the back line was vulnerable, Saxton said Indiana’s back line also was vulnerable and kept stressing just one play could turn the game around.
“While our back line was quite vulnerable today, we felt that theirs was too,” Saxton said.
“If we could get some pressure on them, we would get some chances and we did.”
The loss comes just two days after MSU defeating Purdue for its second Big Ten victory. Both Wester and Krause netted a goal, along with sophomore defender Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz and freshman midfielder Marisa Oleksiak. Marsack and Van Poppelen each added two assists.
MSU’s four goals against Purdue was the most in a Big Ten match since Oct. 10, 2008, when they beat Ohio State, 5-1.
The offensive output in both games this weekend has been something the Spartans have struggled with all season, but something they have been working on as of late.
“We’ve been working so hard for this — we’ve been working on shooting and offensive things in practice, so it feels so good to score four goals and get the ball rolling,” Gauruder said after Friday’s win. ”I personally believe our record does not reflect the team we are, so (Friday) was good to show who we really are.”
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