Iowa City, Iowa It started under a full moon at the Iowa Soccer Complex in Iowa City and just nine minutes and 43 seconds into the game, the Hoosiers’ Kristen Zmijewski found her way past Big Ten Defensive player of the week, Hawkeye keeper Britta Vogele, to go up 1-0. IU headed into the game on a mission as the Hoosiers have been kept out of the Big Ten tournament by the Hawkeyes on a repeated basis. This crop of IU seniors had never beaten Iowa and they entered the game determined to have a win over the Hawkeyes on the books. They won in style on a frigid night under the light of the moon and the stadium lights with a final score of 3-1.
“It was a great team performance and it was definitely a team effort,” said Hoosier head coach Mick Lyon. “In the first half we played well but we weren’t playing our best soccer. The way we came through the game is that we would find a way to win games and that’s what we did today. We turned free kicks into goals, turned breakaways into goals.”
With the win, IU has practically solidified a berth in the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers have not appeared in the Conference tournament since 1998. This year’s seniors have never traveled to the tournament and the team goal was to get to East Lansing in November, the site of this year’s Big Ten tournament.
“The sign of a good team is that they can battle on the field and find a way to win. We’re subbing in three at a time up front. We’ve got Dana Philp into the middle of the park. Dani Patton went out there and completely shut down one of their best players. Our rotation of players has created depth to the team and that has made me excited for the run at the end of this season,” said Lyon.
Hoosier goalkeeper Shaunna Daugherty had a big save at the 17:26 mark, stopping the seemingly inevitable Hawkeye offensive effort. Her diving save kept the momentum in Indiana’s favor.
With 17 minutes remaining in the first half, the Hawkeyes got a true opportunity handed to them when the Hoosiers fouled in front of their net. The defense, anchored by Daugherty, was able to stave off anything Iowa put together as Daugherty punched the ball off the crossbar and high.
The first half ended with the Hoosiers enjoying a 1-0 lead, but under the full moon they could not hold the advantage into the second half. At the 49:05 mark, Sarah Lynch and the Hawkeyes combined to watch the ball trickle into the corner of the Indiana goal. The teams were locked at 1-1, waiting for a golden scoring opportunity.
Daugherty was phenomenal, stopping shots off corners and countless shots at close range. Her performance kept the Hoosiers steady and able to take the momentum and shift it to Indiana’s favor.
Immediately, the Hoosiers capitalized when an Iowa foul just outside the box resulted in a free kick in the 60th minute. Kara Bryan got her second goal of the season when she found her way beyond Vogele, chipping the ball into the left corner of the net to give IU the 2-1 advantage.
Then, at the 86:14 mark Indiana got the insurance goal it needed when Vogele came out of the net and nearly had the ball stopped but couldn’t hold on to it and it looked to be on its way into the net, but to be sure that no Hawkeye defenders thwarted the chance, Jenny Mann got her first goal of the season when teammate and fellow senior Dana Philp headed the ball near the net.
“Teams at this point of the year need to be healthy, which we are and you need to have options within your team and we have shown that we have that too. We’ve also got attitude. This team has an attitude. It is ‘we’re going to win,’” said Lyon.
The Hoosiers record is now 8-4-2, 4-2-2 in the Big Ten. They next travel to Champaign, Ill. for a Sunday matchup with the Fighting Illini.