Indiana looked to get back on track against Penn State Sunday after dropping a 2-0 result against Notre Dame. What they came out with was the same result, allowing two first-half goals to the Nittany Lions. The Hoosiers were unable to find one of their own, ending the game with the 2-0 loss.
Though the Hoosiers largely had the better chances, creating 18 shots for the home side, they couldn't hit home any of the six they placed on frame. Penn State, on the other hand, was incredibly effective in their placement, having five of its seven shots on target.
In the opening minutes, the play went back and forth, with the Hoosiers pressing for an early strike to set the tone. This would be their downfall however, as in the 15th minute, Penn State found themselves on the break, matching the Hoosier defenders in numbers as they pushed down the field. That led to forward Tyler Jordan scoring his first goal of the season, muscling past defender Billy McConnell for a pass from Conner Maloney which he promptly put past keeper Michael Soderlund.
It wasn't long before the Nittany Lions put the ball in the back of the net again. Just ten minutes later, the Hoosiers were attempting to clear the ball from their own penalty box when the clearance was deflected into the air, landing at the feet of Grant Warming, who found a wide open Owen Griffith just inside the box. Griffith took a looping shot that stretched Soderlund out, but found the right upper 90 for the second goal.
"The whole team just needs to step up a little bit and try to keep the other team from scoring," co-captain Jacob Bushue said. "We have to win these out, that's what it comes down to."
The shock of the goal put the Hoosiers on their heels, as they fell out of their pressing game plan and didn't seem to move the ball with much purpose for the remainder of the half. They did have several chances to pick up a goal right before half, but the best chance from Patrick Doody was four yards from goal and went straight into the hands of Penn State keeper Andrew Wolverton.
In the second half, Penn State was content to just sit back and try to conserve its lead. The Hoosiers pressed forward in spurts, attacking both directly at goal and trying to cross in from the wings, but neither led to a score.
The 52nd minute brought about a penalty for Indiana, as Tommy Thompson was brought down inside the box as he went for goal. Thompson stepped up to take the shot, and his soft strike was kept out by Wolverton, preserving Penn State's fifth shutout this season, as the Hoosiers would take chances throughout the remainder of the half, but could never break the zero on the scoreboard.
"I took probably 250 PKs leading up to this game, and I would go right every time," Thompson said. "I just changed it for that one. I thought I saw him dive early, so I thought the middle was open, but it was just a bad decision, should have gone with the way I practiced."
"It's been the story of our season so far, teams that gets the most chances doesn't always score, sometimes that's just the way soccer goes," he commented on the missed opportunities of the day.
Indiana falls to 4-6-1 and 1-1 in the Big Ten. Coach Todd Yeagley is disappointed, but feels the team is on the verge of breaking out and finding the results it will need.
"It just wasn't the day. We did enough to win but didn't do it," Yeagley said. "We just need to keep staying the course. We are doing a lot of really good things. It's a small margin, we are just getting ahead a little bit on the mistakes we make. There aren't any drastic changes we need to make, there isn't any panic among the group, we just need to play with more composure.
"We have to be better in moments to get some goals to give the team a little confidence. We get punched when we are playing well, and it's very untimely and tough mentally."
Indiana travels to Madison for its next contest against Wisconsin (6-2-1, 0-1 in Big Ten) on Friday.