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Wednesday, Nov. 29
The Indiana Daily Student

sports field hockey

WEB ONLY: Field hockey team searches for 'spark'

After a 6-1 loss to Iowa two weeks ago, IU coach Amy Robertson said she hoped the game would “light a fire” in her team.

She is still looking for the spark.

The Hoosiers will have two opportunities this weekend at home to regain what Robertson described as a crushed confidence. They play Ohio State at 3 p.m. Friday and Michigan at 1 p.m. Sunday.

This past weekend, the Hoosiers (6-5, 0-2) fell 9-1 to Michigan State and edged non-conference opponent Central Michigan 1-0 in an overtime game statistically dominated by the Chippewas. The nine goals allowed against Michigan State were the most given up since before any of the current players were on the roster.

“Your confidence gets a little crushed when you think you have done some things well and you get nine goals scored on you,” Robertson said. “There’s two ways you could react from this. You could start to believe that you’re not very good and play with low confidence, or you can focus on improvement and realize that those games could have only made you better.”

Robertson has tried to instill this need for a “spark” in practice this week. The word has become a catchphrase for the entire team.

“We are going to look to bring a spark, to bring something new,” senior back Dani Castro said. “Obviously, in our past two games, what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working. We’re going to come back to what it is to play IU hockey.”

Despite allowing 15 goals in the first two conference games, Robertson said the emphasis is on improving the offense. She said once her team gets past its opponent’s press and into the open field, the forwards are being too aggressive and making poor decisions.

Against Central Michigan, the Hoosiers had six shots on goal – nearly 10 under their season average of 15.73 per game. IU has scored just three goals in its past three games.

Their first opportunity to improve the offense will come against an Ohio State team that has also struggled in its early conference games. The Buckeyes (8-6) dropped their first three Big Ten games, including a 3-1 loss to Michigan State.

However, in the most recent national coaches’ poll, Ohio State finished just outside the top 20, seven votes short of making the list. In six of their eight wins, the Buckeyes have shut out their opponent.

IU’s Sunday opponent, Michigan, was one spot behind Ohio State in the poll. The Wolverines (6-6) are 2-0 against Big Ten teams and have played a tough early schedule, including two games against top-10 teams.

IU sophomore defender Mutsa Mutembwa said she does not think the past few games have reflected her team well and hopes to prove this weekend that the Hoosiers can be competitive in the Big Ten.

“We’re looking to accomplish what IU field hockey means and should mean in the Big Ten,” she said. “And that is a constant a strong force. We’re definitely looking for a ‘W,’ there’s no doubt about it. We’re not hiding that. It’s not even about playing well. However we’re going to get it, we’re going to get a ‘W.’”

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