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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Powerhouse No. 22 Penn State presents tough opener for IU

Sophomore Leigh Anne Cummings plays the ball during Sunday's game against Loyola University Chicago at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

If the IU women’s soccer team is looking to take the next step as an elite program, the Hoosiers (5-4) will have to start this process against a team they have only defeated once in the last 17 tries.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bill Armstrong Stadium the Hoosiers will open Big Ten Conference play as they take on No. 22 Penn State, a team looking for its 11th consecutive conference title. 

Although the Hoosiers are opening up against a team that has dominated the conference the last decade, junior defender Taylor Fallon wouldn’t have it any other way.

“No matter who we play in the Big Ten, it’s going to be a tough game,” she said. “I’m glad we are playing the hardest team for the first game. I think it will be a good start to the Big Ten season.”

The Nittany Lions come into Friday’s match just a game over .500, as they have had an up-and-down start after beginning the season ranked No. 9. Despite the Nittany Lions’ tough start, IU coach Mick Lyon points out they have been competitive this season, even in their losses.

“The fact is they lost a couple of games, with one of them being against the No. 1 team in the country, Notre Dame,” he said. “The games they have lost have been just by a goal. It’s not like they are getting killed in any game.”

“They’ve been playing high-level, big-time teams, so we need to perform at our highest level and get the absolute most out of our players.”

Lyon acknowledges that if they want to beat the Nittany Lions, the Hoosiers will have to do a good job containing their exceptional players, singling out junior forward Katie Schoepfer and sophomore forward Danielle Toney.

“The key will be stopping their top players,” he said. “If we stop them from performing, particularly Schoepfer and Toney from getting goals, we are going to have some success.”

The Hoosiers wrap up play this weekend at 2 p.m. Sunday – at Bill Armstrong Stadium – where the Hoosiers will take on Ohio State.

The Buckeyes come into play picking up their first three wins of the season in their last three games. Although the Hoosiers lead the all-time series 10-6-2, the Buckeyes defeated the Hoosiers twice last season.

Against two solid conference foes, another key to the Hoosiers’ success in their matches this weekend will be the play of their goalkeepers, sophomore Lauren Hollandsworth and freshman Lindsay Campbell, who are both expected to see action. The duo has been battling both in practice and in games to prove their starting worth to Lyon.

“They’re both making a mistake here and there, and you don’t want to criticize too much for one mistake here and there,” he said. “Certainly, Lauren has the talent and experience playing in Big Ten, but Lindsay has some talent, so it’s a good little battle between the two.”

This being the opening weekend for conference play, junior co-captain and defender Jessica Boots wants her team to come out with an attitude that will carry it through the rest of the Big Ten season.

“I think we need to come out and set the level and tone we want to have the whole Big Ten season,” she said. “We’ve been working hard, so I think we are ready to get our name out there and let people know we are here.”

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