After having two wins the past three seasons in conference play, the IU field hockey team matched that total in the first two games under IU Coach Amanda Janney. The Hoosiers made a statement to the conference this weekend after defeating No. 16 Iowa 3-1 Friday and No. 14 Northwestern 3-2 Sunday to improve to 5-4 on the season.
“I am so proud of the team, they’ve been working so hard and our senior leadership has been great this year,” Janney said. “These seniors have been through a lot and for them to finish their career with such a great start to the Big Ten season is really something that they should be proud of as well.”
Against Iowa, junior midfielder Kate Barber scooped up a ball that was deflected off an Iowa defender and fired a shot to the back of the net with 11.9 seconds remaining in the half to put IU up 1-0.
IU added its second goal of the game to put them up two scores when sophomore Taylor Pearson scored her first goal of the season.
Barber had the initial attack finding sophomore midfield Abby Urbanek on the left side of the goal. She found a cutting Pearson in the middle of the circle as she lofted the shot passed the Iowa keeper to put IU up 2-0.
“We’ve been struggling getting on the board first and we finally did that,” Barber said. “We got up a couple goals and then held them, it’s good getting up on them first.”
The Hawkeyes responded with a goal by the Big Ten-leading scorer forward Stephanie Norlander. However, a goal with two minutes remaining in the game by redshirt senior forward Nicole Volgraf sealed the 3-1 victory for the Hoosiers.
During game two of the weekend, Pearson got things going once again for the Hoosiers eight minutes into the game. She had the ball delivered to her and found senior Karen Lorite, who then dribbled around the goalkeeper to put the Hoosiers up 1-0.
“The balls coming from the backfield really set us up perfectly,” Pearson said. “We had so many chances up there and it just started from the backfield.”
The Wildcats responded with a goal of their own eight minutes later when freshman midfielder Eva van Agt scored her first goal of the season on a controversial call where freshman goalkeeper Noelle Rother thought van Agt had kicked the ball in. The call stood and the game was tied, 1-1.
Less than a minute later IU had a penalty corner opportunity. Latino took the corner and, off the set play, Lorite was able to relocate Latino by the left post as she found the back of the net and put the Hoosiers up, 2-1.
Northwestern responded with a goal of its own ten minutes later, and the teams went into the locker room tied, 2-2.
The Wildcats were able to put eight shots on goal in the first half but were only able to get two past Rother in the opening act, as they were ultimately shut out in the second half.
IU put the game away in the 44th minute after Latino was able to poke the ball past the Northwestern goalkeeper to put IU up 3-2.
The Hoosiers now have back-to-back conference wins for the first time since 2009.
“It’s awesome,” Latino said. ”We are already so hyped but we’re ready to move on and play other Big Ten teams.”