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Sunday, Dec. 3
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Women's soccer preps for Kentucky, Butler this weekend

The IU women’s soccer team is off to a quick start with two road wins — winning an exhibition and its season opener — in the past two weeks. But for head coach Mick Lyon and his players, the test continues with two more road games  this weekend.

Last season, Indiana started the season with six consecutive wins, during which they upset then No. 6 Florida. If the Hoosiers hope to match last season’s start, Kentucky and Butler stand in the way.

IU will face Kentucky at 7 p.m. Friday in Lexington and will play 1 p.m. Sunday at Butler.

The Wildcats had a 4-0 season-opening win against Coastal Carolina  on Aug. 21, and Lyon said the Kentucky trip would be a different test for the Hoosiers.

“It’s going to be fast-paced and intense,” Lyon said. “It will be a very, very good battle. It’s just like going on the road to West Virginia that pushes us to our limit. But it’s definitely a game we are capable of winning.”

To open the season, IU defeated West Virginia 3-1 in an exhibition game on Aug. 10. The Hoosiers came back strong from an early one-goal deficit by earning three goals — two from IU players and an own-goal by West Virginia in the second period.

In the season-opener last Friday at Evansville, Lyon’s alma mater, IU upped its performance with a 3-0 shutout against the Purple Aces.

All three goals came from Hoosier forwards — sophomore Orianica Velasquez, junior Carly Samp  and freshman Rebecca Candler. Samp scored in the first two minutes of the game.

Lyon said the victory meant something more than just the score.

“We absorbed the pressure, held on to the ball and executed well,” Lyon said. “It was a good win for us on the road.”

Lyon said he is confident of the new season, since the team has been staying active on the training field during the summer recess.

“Through the offseason, what the girls have been doing is either staying here, voluntarily training with strength and conditioning coaches or playing some amateur games at home,” Lyon said.

Most of the freshmen came early to campus in the middle of July, getting ready for the training camp, which started on Aug. 3. Lyon said he was “very, very happy” to see the physical condition of the players at the beginning of the camp with all players passing the fitness test.

Last season, the Hoosiers faltered in the second-half of the season after a blistering start. IU’s 6-0-0 start turned into a 10-7-2 final record and failure to make the NCAA tournament.

Indiana had some injuries that hurt the team’s performance last season, and Lyon said that is the reason why this year he brought in a large freshmen class to provide more depth on the bench.

This season, 15 players have returned while the team added 12 fresh faces on the roster — 11 freshmen and one transfer from Florida State.

On this young team, senior players said they were ready to be role models.

“I think it’s definitely important to live by example and show the freshmen what to do and what to expect,” senior Leigh Anne Cummings said, “Just keep pushing them and help them reach their highest potential.”

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