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Quality matchups prepare IU field hockey for Big Ten Tournament



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Senior Kate Barber rushes down the field during a match-up against Northwestern. IU defeated Northwestern 2-1. File photo Buy Photos

IU may not have come out on top in either of its matchups this weekend, but IU Coach Amanda Janney said both games served the Hoosiers well in terms of preparation for the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.

IU hit the road to face two of the premier field hockey programs in the nation. IU lost 3-2 to the No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions on Friday and 3-0 to the No. 2 Syracuse Orange.

“This weekend we were able to work on a lot of players in different positions, interchanging to get some of our younger players on the field,” Janney said in an IU Athletics release. “The underclassmen stepped up and provided sparks off the bench. Our freshmen made some plays this weekend, and seeing our underclassmen improve every weekend is a good sign for our postseason.”

Senior defender Kate Barber broke IU’s season record for points and goals in the second half of the Hoosiers’ loss against the Nittany Lions when she notched two goals.

She now has 18 goals and 40 points this season and surpassed Lydia Schrott’s 17 goals in 2005 and Morgan Fleetwood’s 38 points in 2012.

“We are really proud of her tonight,” Janney said in an IU Athletics release after the loss to Penn State. “Her contributions all over the field helped our team play well tonight. She is making intercepts all over the field, and her execution on corners was phenomenal. That is how a senior captain leads, and she was a great leader for us tonight. I am so thrilled that she got the records.”

Barber credited the senior class’s commitment to leaving it all on the field every game for her single-season records, and she called the loss to the Nittany Lions one of IU’s best games of the season.

Junior goalie Katie Johnson recorded eight saves, including one on a penalty stroke, against Penn State and a career-high 11 against Syracuse in place of sophomore Noëlle Rother.

Rother is overseas playing for the U-21 German national team in the Five Nations Tournament, but she will be back for the Hoosiers for the Big Ten Tournament opener Thursday.

“Katie Johnson did great tonight,” Janney said in an IU Athletics release after Penn State. “It is a good sign for our team that she can step up when asked, and I am happy for her to have such a great performance tonight.”

Just like last season, IU will face Penn State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions knocked the Hoosiers out of the competition with a 3-1 win in 2015. IU is the seventh seed, and Penn State is second.

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