Indiana Daily Student

Hoosiers to play Eagles, Anteaters

This weekend serves as a homecoming of sorts for IU Coach Amy Berbary.

IU’s second-year women’s soccer coach leads her Hoosiers to Auburn, Ala., on Friday for a pair of matches against Georgia Southern and University of California, Irvine as part of the Auburn Soccer Classic.

Berbary spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Auburn prior to her arrival in Bloomington last year.

During her tenure at Auburn, she helped guide the Tigers to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

Berbary said it will be fun to return to the Auburn facilities but she is focused on getting her IU team back on track after losing its most recent game to Eastern Michigan 2-0 Sunday.

“I’m excited to go back,” Berbary said. “I’m excited to see some old friends, but at the end of the day, we’ve got a job to do down there.”

IU (1-1) will open its tournament at 5:30 p.m. against Georgia Southern (2-0), a team the Hoosiers handily beat 5-0 last season.

The Eagles picked up a pair of wins in their opening weekend, led by a Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week performance by senior goalie Katie Merson.

Merson surrendered one lone goal in the opening weekend. She’s now unbeaten in seven consecutive matches against teams in the power five conferences, of which IU is a part.

The Hoosiers look to snap that streak Friday but doing so would require better play in the final third of the field out of the offense.

IU has outshot opponents 43-16 thus far this season but only has two goals to show for it.

“Forty-three shots and one goal through the run of play is ridiculous, no matter if your team is good or bad,” Berbary said. “That’s something that we’ve obviously focused on fixing.”

The Hoosiers have had their chances, but converting has been the issue. IU got five shots on goal in its most recent loss to Eastern Michigan, but all five were saved.

Junior midfielder Jessie Bujouves said the easiest remedy is to just keep shooting.

“I think it’s just a matter of executing better,” Bujouves said. “(Eastern Michigan’s) goalie had an unreal game. We just need to keep shooting, and one will go in.”

The IU coaching staff has worked to refocus its offense this week while also making sure not to sacrifice attention on the defensive end, which Berbary said she has been pleased with.

“We’re a young team, so we’re learning a lot still,” she said. “We’re just trying to figure out in the final third whether it be our runs or our first touch.”

IU’s second game will be at 1 p.m. Sunday against an already battle-tested UC Irvine team.

UC Irvine (0-2) lost twice in its opening weekend to No. 10 Santa Clara and No. 1 UCLA.

The Hoosiers’ game against the Anteaters will be their third consecutive road game in a stretch of five matches away from Bloomington.

Berbary said the road tests are part of the plan. She hopes to see more growth out of her team this weekend than the last.

“We just need to learn how to win on the road,” Berbary said. “This is a brutal schedule for us being away because we’re so young.

“But that’s part of it. We’ve got to figure out with how to deal with adversity ... Different things like that help a team grow.”

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