The Cougars dominated Indiana State Sunday with a 4-0 shut out, for their first win of the season, in Terre Haute, Indiana.
According to sophomore goalkeeper Bella Henderson and redshirt sophomore forward MacKenzie Litzsinger, The Cougars fell to the Sycamores last year 3-1. Both said the loss intensified their desire to come back with a win.
“I think going into the game, we kind of had almost like a vengeance, because they came out and they smacked us [last year], so we kind of wanted to defend our reputation and our team,” Litzsinger said. “Going into the game, I think we just kind of had a notion that we weren’t going to lose. We didn’t want to go in with any sort of cockiness, but we wanted to go in with plenty of confidence that we could — and we would — get the win.”
The Cougars started to meet this goal just nine minutes into the game when freshman midfielder Emma Dutko scored the first goal.
At 34:54, junior goalkeeper Jensen Schoch entered the net after Bella Henderson was injured when saving a rebound shot.
Henderson said she felt immense pain shooting up her leg, but was back to practicing by the next day.
During her time on the field, Henderson made five saves.
Freshman forward Lily Schnieders scored the first goal of the second period. Roughly 16 minutes later, Litzsinger scored, bringing the Cougars up 3-0.
Litzsinger said scoring the third goal helped solidify the win, as being up 2-0 still gives the opponent a reasonable chance at coming back.
“When you’re up 2-0, it’s [said] that is the most unsafe score because you kind of have a sense of false confidence,” Litzsinger said. “If they score one more goal, then they’re right back in the game. I always get worried with a 2-0 scoreline, so when I finally got that third goal, I felt there was more of a relief for everybody on the team.”
Litzsinger scored her second goal of the game with a few minutes left in play, assisted by junior midfielder Ashlin West.
Lintzinger said it was exciting to secure such a high win against the Sycamores.
“It’s exciting to be able to prove your team is good enough to win 4-0 against another decent opponent,” Litzsinger said.
According to Head Coach Derek Burton, Litzsinger’s first goal was a one-on-one goal, which was something the team had been practicing throughout the week.
“As a coaching staff, we kind of recognized we needed to work on that prior to this game, because we were getting those chances but maybe not putting them in the back of the net at the rate that we would like, and lo and behold MacKenzie gets the chance,” Burton said. “[She] strips the defender of the ball and gets a chance on her own and puts it in the back of the net.”
Burton said the first two goals of the game were also reminiscent of strategies the team had been recently practicing.
“For instance, Emma Dutko’s goal and Lily’s goal were both follow-up, aggressive plays on goal where they were hungry for the ball,” Burton said. “We’ve been working on going to the net for rebounds … and so those were nice to see because those were just the product of hard work and being strapped in and being hungry in front of the net.”
During practices, Burton has also encouraged the team to be aggressive by being more proactive instead of reactive.
Henderson said the Cougars did just that during Sunday’s game by being possessive and following through with opportunities to score.
“From my point of view, we were very possessive of the ball, we made barely any mistakes and got right back onto it,” Henderson said. “I think we took our opportunities when we were out there and finished on them, and I think that’s why it was such a high-scoring game.”
The Cougars hope to add another win to their current 1-1-1 record at 2 p.m. when they play Sunday, Sept. 8 at Korte Stadium. They will be playing against Missouri State.