A 32-day home stand was not what IU women’s soccer coach Mick Lyon had planned when making the 2010 schedule. Since a 6-0 win against Butler on Aug. 29, the Hoosiers have played six consecutive home games with two more this weekend to close out September.
“It just fell into place like that,” Lyon said about to the unique home schedule.
Lyon said the Hoosiers were first scheduled to play in a road tournament in early September, but when that fell through they penciled in two more home games. After IU settled on its non-conference schedule, the Big Ten came out with its schedule and slotted the Hoosiers to open up the conference season with two home games (Friday against Northwestern and Sunday against Wisconsin).
The eight straight home games IU will play in September is the most in the Big Ten and is something the players are enjoying.
“It’s definitely helpful to get into the swing of things, especially getting into a routine
instead of playing here one weekend and then going away for another weekend,” junior goalkeeper Lindsay Campbell said.
For Lyon and the Hoosiers, playing in front of a home crowd at Bill Armstrong Stadium has been a welcoming experience for such a young team.
Every lineup that Lyon has sent out on the pitch this year has seen at least four freshmen in the starting 11.
“We are looking for the right mix players playing together,” Lyon said. “We have been moving players around a little bit to see where they fit best and where they are most comfortable.”
With more than a third of his lineup being first-year players, Lyon has continued to count on his upperclassmen to council the freshmen on and off the field.
“We have been giving them plenty of tips to improve the team in any ways that we can,” junior midfielder Kaylin Clow said. “We are trying to talk to them a lot, not only outside of soccer but also on the field, because they don’t necessarily know our style of play having come from all different club teams.”
Freshman Becca Zambon from California said the upperclassmen have helped make the transition to college soccer a little easier for the freshmen class.
“They have always been there if we have had questions or anything and they are the first ones we go to if we need help with anything.
“They set really good examples for us as freshmen with their hard work and leadership,” Zambon said.
Despite having played its last six games at home, the Hoosiers have struggled in finding consistent results. IU is currently 2-3-1 in the home stand as it opens Big Ten play.
Lyon said the home schedule has allowed IU to bring in some premier opponents in No. 6 Texas A&M and future Big Ten member Nebraska.
The Hoosiers have to look no further than last year’s team to know it’s not about how you play in September but how you finish in October and November.
IU started off last season with the best start in school history and was 8-1 heading into its Big Ten schedule. The Hoosiers then closed the season with only two more wins and were left out of the NCAA Tournament with a record of 10-7-2.
“Last year we did not translate our start into the Big Ten season and through October,” Lyon said. “I’ve said in my mind all the time I’ll give up a few games in September if it means we get them back and win some in October and November.”