Bloomington, Ind. Indiana women's soccer found winning easy with home field advantage Thursday night as it downed Xavier 2-0 at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Junior midfielder Shelly Gruszka led the Hoosier offensive charge as she scored both goals in the win that pulled IU to 2-2-0 on the season.
Gruszka's initial strike came in the 23rd minute. Junior Carly Everett had the assist as she dumped it into Gruszka who chipped it into the top left corner of the goal, getting past the Musketeers keeper, Megan Veith.
Just four minutes later, Gruszka found her way through Veith and the Xavier defense to put the Hoosiers in a commanding 2-0 lead. This time, Jenny Mann was able to lead Gruszka through the Musketeer defense to find the back of the net. The scoreboard did not move the rest of the game as defensive efforts from both squads characterized the remainder of the game.
"It was really exciting to get out running in the first half and score those goals. We have stressed how important it is to score early and that's what we did tonight," said Gruszka. "We've been working on getting wide and making those cuts and we did that well on both goals tonight. My job is to get the ball, run to the post and see what I can do, but Carly and Jenny put the ball in the right spot each time."
"Coach (Lyon) has been preaching to us that we need to get wider and cut end line. Too often we don't allow enough space to make a good cut. Tonight I was able to get wide and go end line on my defender and worked the ball right in to Shelly," said Mann.
"Defensively we stopped them from playing,- said head coach Mick Lyon. "The girls really came out and did the things that we asked of them tonight. As a whole, they were more physically committed to winning tackles. We really established ourselves as a physical team."
In the net for IU, the Hoosiers got a tandem effort from Shaunna Daugherty and Kristin Pimlott who combined for five saves. Pimlott had three of those saves, anchoring the defensive contingent in the back.
The Hoosiers were able to put into play what they have been practicing on the training field all week opening up the field and increasing the speed of play.
"Someone asked me the other day if I'd rather play well or win tonight we did both," said Lyon.
The Hoosiers held an enormous advantage in the corner kick category with an 11-1 advantage over the Musketeers.
Gruszka currently leads the team with 10 points as the team total sits at 16. She managed to score on the only shots she took on the evening.
"Shelly has been dangerous in front of the net and is really scoring points for us," said Lyon.
The Musketeers fall to 2-3-0 on the season with tonight's loss to the Hoosiers.
Indiana's record is now 2-2-0 as they travel to Southeast Missouri State on Sunday to battle the Otahkians. The game will be a good matchup, but the Hoosiers will have to adjust to playing on a turf field, as opposed to grass.
The Big Ten schedule opens Friday, September 20 at Bill Armstrong Stadium when the Hoosiers host Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Indiana will then host Minnesota at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, September 22.