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Wednesday, Nov. 29
The Indiana Daily Student

sports field hockey

Regular season for field hockey team to conclude against last-place Wildcats

With one regular-season Big Ten game left to play, the IU field hockey team is trying to avoid finishing last in the conference.

The Hoosiers (7-9, 1-4) face Northwestern (6-12, 0-5) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Evanston, Ill. With the Big Ten Network televising the game, the winning team will avoid the conference’s dubious last-place distinction and the lowest seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament.

While IU has compiled a 6-5 non-conference record, it has struggled in conference play. In losses to Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State, the Hoosiers allowed 20 combined goals.

Northwestern has also struggled recently. The Wildcats are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and have lost eight of their past nine games.

The Wildcats sit in the bottom three of every statistical category in the conference, including last place in scoring margin (-1.21), shots per game (11.11) and goals against average (3.36 per game).

Still, senior back Dani Castro said the team cannot look at Northwestern’s troubles as it prepares for the Saturday game.

“They are not a team we can underestimate just because of their record,” Castro said. “They are a scrappy team, and they work hard.”

Instead, Castro insisted this game should be used to prepare for the conference tournament. The Hoosiers will host that event, which begins next Thursday.

“It definitely needs to be the tone-setter for the Big Ten Tournament,” Castro said.
IU coach Amy Robertson said she hopes her team is not distracted by the Big Ten Network cameras.

“Right now, we’re more focused on the process,” Robertson said. “We’re just trying to get some of the pieces going into a positive direction for us and getting better.”

To play well, the Hoosiers must regain confidence lost this week, Robertson said. In a rare midweek game, IU lost to No. 12 Louisville 2-1 on Wednesday.

The team played sloppily, especially in the first half, allowing the Cardinals to score both of their goals on penalty corners. IU allowed nine penalty corners in the first period, and 12 total corners in the game.

The offense also struggled for the second game in a row. Junior forward Alina Valenti scored a goal with two minutes remaining to avoid two consecutive shutouts.

The coaches and players pointed to several practical reasons for their poor play, but everyone said the team lacked what it needed most: confidence.

“We lost confidence (against Louisville),” said senior forward Katie Kiper. “And we have to gain it back before we play again.”

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