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Wednesday, Oct. 4
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Senior finishes season after transition from Canada to Indiana


Before some high school soccer games and practices, Devon Beach and her team had to shovel snow.

Beach, a senior midfielder, attended Northern Collegiate Institute and Vocational School in Sarnia, Ontario. She was the Vikings’ top goal scorer in her three seasons.

“Coming here, it’s completely different because it’s so humid here, and it’s hot compared to home,” Beach said. “We’d play in minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). It would always be freezing there.”

IU Coach Mick Lyon said he understands the Canadian cold since he travels far north quite a bit.

“I went up one weekend where they train,” Lyon said. “They train outdoors regardless of weather. I remember a couple of sessions watching them. They’re bundled up, and the balls were frozen, it was so cold. These kids train hard.”

Lyon said he noticed Beach in the younger group, especially her ball skills, fitness and knowledge of the game. Her London Supernova club coach praised Beach, and Lyon said he liked a lot of things about how the Supernova coach developed his players.

“I made the contact,” Lyon said “She wanted something a little further south from Sarnia. I’m happy she chose us.”

Initially, IU was not in the picture for Beach.

“Originally, I wasn’t thinking about coming this far from home,” she said. “I wanted to stay closer. I came down, spoke to Coach and saw the campus. I absolutely fell in love with the campus. Once I met the girls, it seemed like they were a family.

“It was something I wanted to be a part of. I’m glad I did. I love it here.”

Lyon said the way the senior developed her game earlier in her career helped him make the decision to move her to a midfield position.

“She’s outstanding in the tackle,” Lyon said. “She’s probably one of the hardest tacklers that we’ve got. She can run all day. I’ve worked with her in developing her ability to win balls in the air.

“She’s developed the skills that go with that defensive midfield player, matured into the role, where she fits right in.”

In her IU career, she has started 72 of 73 matches, including all 16 during her senior season.

“I have such a desire to play and competitiveness,” she said. “I like to think that I’m a leader on the field, which makes everyone else play a bit harder.”

In fact, the only game she did not start was in her freshman season against Minnesota. Beach said it was strategy. Since then, she has started 62 consecutive matches.

But that streak was almost broken at 51. In the 27th minute in a match against Xavier, Beach collided with Musketeer goalkeeper Katie Markesberry and sustained a head injury.

However, Lyon said he was not worried.

“She’s pretty fearless,” he said. “Sometimes she goes into things like it’s going to be a train wreck. That’s how competitive she is. She hates losing. With a player like that, you can’t sit on the edge, worrying that every tackle or collision’s going to put her out.

“She’s one of those kids that shows up the next day and tells you, ‘Yeah, it hurts. So what?’ I figured Devon could go into any tackle or collision and come out

In an Indiana jersey, Beach has scored 14 goals, including two game-winners. One came in the 81st minute against Nebraska on Sept. 25 to give IU its first Big Ten win against the Huskers.

But that isn’t what teammates will remember about her. On Sunday, she started her final home match in an Indiana uniform against Michigan State.

“There’s so many things that make her a great player,” senior forward Carly Samp said. “The one thing that stands out to me is her heart. She has the most heart on the team. She goes into every tackle as hard as she can. She makes sure she leaves all her great playing on the field.”

Sometimes it rubs opponents the wrong way.

“Against a couple of Big Ten teams last year, they would call her names,” Samp said. “That’s her mentality. She’s a hard-working player. The perception changes when you’re playing against her.”

Beach said her opponents are entitled to their opinion, and she does not care what those opinions entail.

“I have heard multiple times that I’m a dirty player,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t think I am. I go into tackles hard, and I know how to slide tackle.
“I don’t care what anyone else thinks about how I play. I’m not going to change my game if they think I’m a dirty player. It’s my game. If they want to think that,
go ahead.”

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