It all comes down to tonight for the IU women’s soccer team. A victory Senior Night against Michigan would guarantee IU its first spot in the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament since 2013. Anything less than a victory by the Hoosiers would require other results around the Big Ten to go their way in order for the Hoosiers to secure a postseason spot.
For IU Coach Amy Berbary, though, her complete attention will be on the events unfolding in front of her at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
“My job is to just focus on our game,” Berbary said. “The main focus is just trying to figure out how we can come out with a result.”
Following last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Purdue, IU (7-7-4, 4-3-3 Big Ten), sits in a three-way tie for seventh place in the conference standings with Ohio State and Nebraska at 15 points each. All 14 Big Ten teams will be in action Wednesday night, which is the final day of regular season conference play.
The top eight teams in the Big Ten standings after Wednesday’s matches will advance to the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament. Even if IU is unable to defeat Michigan, (9-4-3, 5-3-2 Big Ten), several scenarios still exist for IU to reach the tournament.
A loss by Ohio State would automatically qualify IU for the playoffs based on IU’s head-to-head tiebreaker advantage. A draw by the Hoosiers would also put them among the Big Ten’s top eight teams, but only if that draw is accompanied by a draw from Ohio State or a loss by Nebraska.
Reaching the tournament for the first time in three years would be a fitting end to the careers of IU’s three senior players, including defender Marissa Borschke.
“As seniors, this is our last opportunity to extend our season,” Borschke said. “It’s really important to be able to take advantage so we can keep playing.”
Borschke, along with defender Ari Kowalski and midfielder Veronica Ellis, will be honored in a pre-match ceremony tonight.
After her transfer to IU from the New Jersey Institute of Technology prior to the 2013 season, Borschke was able to join both Kowalski and Ellis as members of the most recent IU team to play postseason soccer.
“The hard work, dedication and fight we have this year is the same as it was in 2013,” Borschke said. “Our senior class has been through the highs and lows of this program. We really want to leave a tradition and expectation of making it to the postseason because we know the potential this program has.”
This year’s senior class of players is the first class of Hoosiers to be coached in all four seasons by Berbary. Following her appointment as head coach in February 2013, Berbary has grown along with these players and is grateful for the dedication they’ve shown her and the program.
“These three have been unbelievable. They’ve seen everything, and they’ve matured as soccer players and people,” Berbary said. “Between the three of them, they have three great careers ahead of them, but to have these memories and these teammates and all of this to look back on, I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Despite Senior Night emotions for Berbary and the players honored, the task of defeating the Wolverines and clinching a playoff spot still sits front and center.
“I’m going to try to keep it together,” Berbary said. “I just want to enjoy tomorrow night and see their faces at the end of the game if we can secure ourselves a spot in the postseason. It would mean a ton to those three.”
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