Women's soccer is now 6-0-1

Women's soccer standout Kayleigh Steigerwalt

IU's women's soccer team is red hot following a 2-1 victory Sunday over Central Michigan. The Hoosiers are now 6-0-1, their best start in program history.

Indiana's women's soccer team is off to its best start in program history. With a 2-1 victory over Central Michigan today, IU is now 6-0-1. Here is the story provided by IU media relations.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana women's soccer team continued to find different ways to win games, and on Sunday they had to do it in come-from-behind fashion to defeat Central Michigan, 2-1, at Armstrong Stadium. The Hoosiers improve to 6-0-1 on the year, the best start to a year in program history.

"We were very sloppy in the first 30 minutes of the game, but we were able to find a way to tie it before half," Indiana head coach Amy Berbary said. "(Kayleigh) Steigerwalt does what she did tonight all the time in practice so it was great to see her be able carry that over to the game and get the game-winning goal today."

The Hoosiers once again dominated the shots category, 21-4, and were able to double up the Chippewas in corner kicks drawn, 6-3.

Central Michigan (0-6-1) was able to strike first when Emily Cooksey dribbled nearly 30 yards through the IU defense and beat IU keeper Shannon Flower less than four minutes into the game, putting CMU ahead 1-0. It was just the second goal that the Hoosiers and Flower have allowed this season and it snapped a shutout streak of nearly 370 minutes.

With CMU controlling play early in the game, freshman Ari Kowalski was inserted into the defensive backfield and she took advantage of the opportunity. She played strong as an outside back and helped stem the tide from the Central Michigan attack, allowing the IU offense to regain control of the game.

"Having Ari (Kowalski) come in off the bench and absolutely dominate on the back line today was great," Berbary said. "She may be small but we don't win today without her."

But from there, the Indiana defense was able to keep the CMU attack at bay and began to mount their own attack. That attack culminated in the 34th minute when Tori Keller broke free down the right sideline and was able to center a pass in the box to Abby Smith, who took a touch and then beat the keeper to the far post for her second goal of the season. The assist for Keller was also her second assist on the year to help tie the game at 1-1.

The Hoosiers' attack was not finished in the first half though, as they were awarded a penalty kick on a foul inside the box. Rebecca Candler stepped up to take it and her shot hit the cross bar and came back into play. The ensuing scramble also led to another IU shot that also hit the cross bar and stayed out of the goal, allowing the teams to head to the locker room knotted a 1-1.

Indiana started the second half on the attack again but could not find any clean looks at the CMU goal. Then it was the Chippewas turn to be on the offensive, this time with a couple set pieces that yielded a couple harmless headers in the box that Flower was able to save for Indiana.

With IU back on the attack in the closing minutes, Abby Smith found Steigerwalt with a pass just on the CMU side of midfield. The sophomore from Columbus, Ind., dribbled through the CMU defense and took a left-footed shot from 20 yards out that found the back of the goal, past the diving Central Michigan keeper, to put the Hoosiers ahead with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.

For Steigerwalt, it was her second goal of the season and first career game-winning goal while Abby Smith recorded her fourth career game with three points.

Indiana will return to Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday to play host to Xavier, with the game starting at 7 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on BTN.com for those subscribers.

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