IU women’s soccer has played its best on the road this season.
The Hoosiers went 4-2-1 earlier in 2017 during their seven-game road trip, but after returning home, they struggled. IU went a combined 0-2-1 during its two-week home stand, losing to both Northwestern and Illinois last weekend.
Despite the home struggles, IU still has a chance to climb back into the Big Ten postseason picture.
IU will resume road play this weekend against Minnesota, one of the top teams in the conference.
“We take every game and learn something from it,” IU coach Amy Berbary said. “We have six games left, this week is a huge weekend for us, puts us back in the thick of things. We’re just going to look to progress on some of the mistakes we’ve made and capitalize on some of the really good things we did this past weekend.”
Minnesota will come into Friday night's game riding a three-game winning streak. The Gophers are explosive offensively, but it’s nothing IU isn’t used to. The Hoosiers limited Purdue, the Big Ten's second highest scoring team, to just one goal Sept. 23.
The Hoosiers will have to limit the number of shots for the Gophers, who have taken 37 shots over the past three matches.
Minnesota defeated IU the last time the two schools played, winning 3-1 in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament.
“I feel like this road trip might feel pretty long considering we’ve been home for a while now,” senior midfielder Kayla Smith said. “It’ll be fun to play at Minnesota because they have a cool environment at night and it’s going to be a great game in general.”
The Gophers are led by senior forward Sydney Squires. She currently leads the Big Ten in goals with 10.
Berbary acknowledged the challenge her team will have in trying to contain her and the rest of the Minnesota offense.
“We pride ourselves in defending,” Berbary said. “I think we can get every individual to give a little bit more. This offense isn’t anything we haven’t seen but they do score some good goals. We’ll just have to make sure that we account for players inside the box.”
On offense, the Hoosiers were almost held without a goal Sunday before junior forward Mykayla Brown scored in the 89th minute against Illinois.
“I think because we’ve been on the road so much that we’ve gotten used to it,” junior forward Abby Allen said. “We’re pretty well adjusted and ready to go.”
Less than 48 hours after they play against Minnesota, the Hoosiers will travel to Wisconsin to play the Badgers on their senior day. The last time the two teams met, IU took the victory 3-2 behind two first half goals.
IU has looked like two different teams this season, but luckily for them, being back on the road might provide the opportunity the Hoosiers need to get back into their rhythm before it’s too late to make the Big Ten Tournament.
“We’ve been good on the road,” Berbary said. “We’ll kind of use that as a little motivation for us. Minnesota, we haven’t played there on a Friday night, they get a huge crowd, so I’m really looking forward to that, playing in that environment. We’ll just have to make sure we match their energy and give our best effort Friday night.”
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