The onslaught came late, and it came quick.
Seventy-nine minutes into what looked like a routine win for the Michigan women’s soccer team in its Big Ten opener, Indiana notched just its second shot on goal. By the 90th minute, the Hoosiers had broken through twice to tie it up, in an eventual 3-2 double-overtime Indiana (1-0-0 Big Ten, 5-1-2 overall) win over the Wolverines (0-1-0, 4-4-0).
It was Abby Allen who provided the initial breakthrough for Indiana seven minutes after that second shot on goal, volleying one home with four minutes to go in regulation. It didn’t take long for the Hoosiers to equalize from there.
Just two minutes later, Michigan freshman defender Janiece Joyner cleared a shot from Chandra Davidson off the line. On the ensuing corner, Claudia Day sent a header past sophomore goalkeeper Izzy Nino, with Caroline Dreher providing the service.
“I think we just lost a little bit of our focus,” said Michigan coach Jennifer Klein. “We had to make a couple of changes in the second half, just due to some little tweaks, little things here and there, so we kind of lost a little bit of our rhythm. … Just kind of gave the ball away in some bad areas, and they capitalized.”
It took over 17 minutes of overtime play before Indiana managed another shot on goal, but it turned out one more was all they needed. Davidson finished off a cross from Melanie Forbes to notch her second goal of the night — putting the Wolverines to bed.
Early in the game, Michigan seemed to embody the attacking mindset Klein preaches. The Wolverines broke through less than a minute after kick-off, as sophomore forward Emma Cooper sprinted down the right wing and gave off to Alia Martin. The sophomore midfielder found Reilly — her sister — with a cross, setting up a quick and easy score.
“I think she’s getting herself into some good areas,” Klein said of Martin. “She’s always a player that’s wanting to go to goal and just did a good job, good composure in and around the net. … When we find her the ball, she does some good things.”
From there, Michigan continued to attack, with the Hoosiers struggling to keep up. Not two minutes later, Reilly Martin nearly found the back of the net again after getting behind Indiana’s defense.
The Wolverines would go on to score again in the 23rd minute, as sophomore midfielder Sarah Stratigakis curled one in from the upper right-hand corner of the box after Reilly Martin played a corner kick short.
“They were great (in the first half),” Klein said of her team. “They were connecting passes, playing quickly, getting the ball out wide, getting runs in the box. … And so I thought they did a great job in the first half. Just weren’t as clean and didn’t execute the same way in the second half.”
Indiana’s first shot on goal didn’t come until the 53rd minute — a forced attempt from a bad angle from Maya Piper that easily found Nino’s arms. To that point, it embodied the story of the night, but the Hoosiers would go on to turn the narrative on its head.
“What I told the team is, things are gonna happen in the game,” Klein said. “And how we respond to mistakes we’ve made, or bits of adversity has to be better. And we have to believe. And one of our phrases is, ‘No excuses,’ and we have to have that mentality in any moment in the game, no matter what happens. No excuse, and we just have to find a way to solve it.”