The Hoosiers have already qualified for the Big Ten Tournament, but IU Coach Amanda Janney said she doesn’t want her team to relax.
Ohio State may be last place in the Big Ten standings, but Janney said she doesn’t view IU’s Senior Day opponent as any less formidable than the rest.
“Ohio State has a great tradition of having great players,” Janney said. “They have a couple of very talented upperclassmen and a couple of new freshmen they scouted. We know they are a very dangerous team and that we have to play our best to beat them.”
The Buckeyes have given ranked opponents headaches this season, and the Hoosiers are aware of that fact.
No. 7 Louisville beat Ohio State by only one goal Sept. 18, and No. 5 Maryland needed overtime to defeat the Buckeyes on Oct. 14.
To counter possible pressure Janney said she plans for her team to push forward and control the pace of the game.
“We are trying to be a little bit more attack-minded,” Janney said. “So we are going to try to get some more players into our attacking circle when we enter the 25. I think we are going to move a couple people around. We are keeping junior Taylor Pearson in the front line.”
Janney is also confident in her back line, especially sophomore goalie Noëlle Rother, who received the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Defensive Player of the Week award this week.
Rother’s quality communication with defenders senior Malia Fujisawa, junior Elle Hempt and sophomore Nora Aucker has made IU’s defense a compact unit that does not allow easy goals.
“It helps the whole team,” Janney said. “It helps the forwards take a little bit more risks knowing that the backfield is going to make some huge stops for us, that we have people making defensive saves and we have really good intercepting backs who are really aggressive.”
This will be the last time seniors Fujisawa, Kate Barber, Morgan Dye and Mollie Getzfread play at the IU Field Hockey Complex, and the group is looking to finish up their time in Bloomington with a victory.
Last season the Hoosiers shut out the Buckeyes, 3-0, on the road behind Barber’s two goals.
Fujisawa said the Big Ten Standings don’t secure results and anything could happen tomorrow should the Hoosiers take Ohio State lightly, but Dye said she is confident in where IU stands.
“This is a game where we are really not the underdog,” Dye said. “We are expected to win so that kind of increases my motivation to want to play even harder and prove that we are the better team.”
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