Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's soccer

Women's soccer in Big Ten Tournament


For the first time since 2007, IU will take the field for the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at 5:30 p.m. in Champaign, Ill., against tournament host Illinois tonight.

On Monday, IU Coach Amy Berbary asked her team how excited it was to be practicing in the month of November.

“They all kind of laughed,” Berbary said.

But they had reason to.

This has been a turnaround season for the No. 4 seed IU (13-5-1, 6-4), which will be making its first appearance in the Big Ten Tournament in five years to play No. 5 seed Illinois (10-7-2, 5-5-1).

Both the Illini and Hoosiers play a very similar style of possession offense that will make for an intriguing matchup of who can retain possession and make plays.

“I’m excited to play them again,” Berbary said. “They’re one of the few teams in the Big Ten that play that possession style. They like to put the ball down, so I think it’s going to be a fun game between the two teams.”

The game will serve as a rematch of an Oct. 6 game in Bloomington that IU won 3-2.
The win came against an Illini squad that was missing senior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, who was nursing an injury.

DiBernardo has recorded a team high six assists this season despite only playing in 11 games.

“(DiBernardo) is going to make a big difference,” senior midfielder Lisa Nouanesengsy said. “We should never focus on one or two players, but knowing that she is going to be on the field can give us a heads up to watch out for her.”

Alongside DiBernardo will be unanimously selected Big Ten Forward of the Year Jannelle Flaws, who has scored a conference high 20 goals this season.

“We just need to account for her,” Berbary said. “She is very dynamic and dangerous.
She is a goal scorer. There are forwards and there are goal-scoring forwards, and she’s in that category, and that’s very rare.”

Berbary said it will be senior defender Lara Ross who will need to anchor the back line and make sure those two dynamic players are kept in check.

In the first matchup, Flaws beat the Hoosier defense for a goal, but Ross said she is confident in the system the Hoosiers have in place.

“We just need to keep an eye on them and stay tight,” Ross said. “We know how they both kind of play. We just need to keep our feet and keep the ball in front of us.”

IU dominated Illinois 11-0 in terms of corner kicks taken in its 3-2 win earlier this year.

Despite that, IU has struggled to convert on corner kick chances, only managing five scores off corners this year.

“If we can do that again and not give them any corners that would be great,” Nouanesengsy said. “We’ve been working on trying to finish set pieces. Hopefully if we get that many tomorrow, we can finish those.”

Rain is in the forecast, and the 8:30 p.m. matchup in Illinois will allow Illini students to get to the game, which means there could be an electric atmosphere.

That, thrown on top of the opportunity to win their first Big Ten Tournament game since 1997, has the Hoosiers excited.

“They are going to be fired up,” Ross said. “They were on the edge of getting into the tournament, so they have a lot to fight for just like we do. I know they’re going to be pumped up. But we’re ready to go.”

Follow reporter Sam Beishuizen on Twitter @Sam_Beishuizen.

Get stories like this in your inbox