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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Final tuneup for women's soccer team before Big Ten Tournament

After punching its ticket to the Big Ten Tournament, IU travels to Lincoln, Neb., for a matchup against conference-leading Nebraska at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The Hoosiers (13-4-1, 6-4) can finish, at worst, the fourth seed in the conference regardless of Friday’s results. The combination of a win against Nebraska (14-3-1, 9-1) and Ohio State beating Michigan would give IU the No. 3 seed.

Nebraska has a regular season championship on the line.

The Cornhuskers currently sit in first place, and they can clinch the Big Ten regular season championship with a win against IU.

With seeding implications and a championship on the line, junior forward Monica Melink said she is expecting an exciting game.

“We know that they are going to be tough,” Melink said. “Really, we have the confidence right now. We know that we could win against any Big Ten team.”

Melink said Nebraska’s ranking as the best team in the conference will not change the way IU will play.

The game will serve as the final tune-up before the conference tournament.

“It is going to be a big game just because they are currently first in the Big Ten right now,” sophomore defender Caitlin O’Connor said. "We’ll come out doing everything we can do to win.”

Nebraska enters the game on a five-game winning streak that includes a 3-2 double overtime win against Penn State on Sunday.

The Cornhuskers have been one of the best defensive teams in the Big Ten all season by allowing only .89 goals per game.

Offensively, Nebraska capitalizes on making runs after turnovers.

“They pride themselves on defending,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “They have quite a few players forward in their attack, and they are good in transition.”

Berbary said part of IU’s success will be based on how well the team keeps the ball away from Nebraska’s offensive playmakers.

“It is going to be important for us to stick to our possession style and try to keep the ball and not turn it into a transition game,” Berbary said. “We need to keep the ball away from their dynamic players.”

A win against Nebraska on Friday would put the Hoosiers on a four-game winning streak heading into the Big Ten Tournament.

Melink said she believes that would be a good boost of confidence going into the postseason, especially if the Hoosiers come out and play a complete game.

“(A win) would motivate us even more,” Melink said. “We know we have the talent. It would just give us even more confidence going into the next game.

“Something we have struggled with is playing a full 90-minute game, and winning against Nebraska would really help us with that.”

Follow reporter Sam Beishuizen on Twitter @Sam_Beishuizen.

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