The women’s soccer team came into this season after a successful 2007 season, advancing further in the NCAA tournament than any other team in school history. The third round exit capped a 13-7-3, 5-4-1 in conference, record for a year ago on the strength of a 13-game unbeaten streak.
The Hoosiers came into this season picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten Conference by the conference’s coaches and just shy of being ranked in the Top 25 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas preseason poll, pegged at No. 26.
The Hoosiers opened up their 2008 campaign Aug. 16 with a 1-0 exhibition win against the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks.
“It was great to be back on the field and actually get to play and win a game,” said junior forward Kristin Arnold.
The exhibition consisted of three 30-minute periods instead of the standard two 45-minute halves. After a scoreless first period, freshman midfielder Devon Beach scored the game’s lone goal in the 48th minute.
“I was really surprised actually, it was a left-footed shot,” the Ontario native said. “It wasn’t expected at all.”
Three Hoosier goalkeepers combined to shut out the Redhawks, led by sophomore Lauren Hollandsworth.
This weekend, the Hoosiers traveled to Ohio to make their regular season debut as they took on the Dayton Flyers.
Dayton came into this season picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 Conference, after a 13-4-4 season a year ago.
The Flyers got on the board early, due to the 2007 A-10 player of the year, junior Mandi Back. She scored the first of her two goals at 5:52 into the game. The Hoosiers answered quickly scoring at the 7:22 mark.
Beach’s score came off a deflection from an Arnold free kick.
“I saw the ball coming back and just tried to keep it low,” Beach said. “This goal was probably better than the first one because it came in a real game and we were behind. That one felt really good.”
Head coach Mick Lyon was pleased with what Beach has brought to the team early this season.
“She’s doing great and adapting very well coming across the border,” Lyon said. “She’s a real Big Ten-type player, and things I recruited her for she is really doing, and I’m very happy.”
Dayton added one more goal before the half and two more in the second to take the game 4-1.
IU is back in action Friday as they travel to College Station, Texas, to take on No. 13 Tennessee. They will then face No. 15 Texas A&M on Sunday.