The Hoosiers’ success can be traced to the emergence of new leaders, starting at the top with first year IU Coach Amanda Janney.
Led by sophomore forward Maddie Latino, the freshmen and sophomores have accounted for 42 percent of points for the Hoosiers this season.
“Its been a whole team effort this year. It doesn’t matter who you are, what position or what grade you’re in,” senior defender Sydney Supica said. “I think that’s awesome to see from our whole team, and it really started in the summer and in preseason by really connecting off the field and then bringing that into the season this year.”
Latino has a team-high of nine goals and is second in assists, with six through 15 games. After netting just one goal a season ago in a bench role, she has started every game but one this year and has become the go-to player for the Hoosier penalty corners.
Rother, the true freshman goalkeeper, has been shutting it down between the pipes for the Hoosiers all season. During her first season in the states, she is currently second in the conference in saves with 76.
Last weekend was Rother’s most productive performance on the field since coming to IU as she recorded her first two shutouts of her career in back-to-back games against Ohio State and Penn State.
That marked the first time in school history that a goalkeeper had accomplished that feat during conference play.
“The first two weeks I was here in the preseason, I would think, ‘Oh, that’s very different from Germany,’” Rother said. “Now I’ve adjusted to the hockey, and I really like it.”
Janney has made this Hoosier team more unified than in years past. As the players have said all season, the team’s focus is more about team morale than seniority. If a player has the skill, she’ll find her way into the lineup.
Sophomore midfielder Taylor Pearson has found a home in the starting lineup as well this season after only starting in two contests a season ago. She has three goals to her credit this year and has been more involved in the offensive press by moving the ball down the field effectively.
“AJ has just been trying out everyone in different positions, and everyone has the ability to fill any position on the field,” Pearson said.
Sophomore midfielder Abby Urbanek has thrived in taking penalty corners for the Hoosiers when Latino is out of the game.
She has one goal and two assists on the season, while seeing key minutes off the bench and setting up the Hoosiers with scoring opportunities.
In addition to Urbanek, a pair of freshmen, forward Claire Woods and defender Nora Aucker, have taken advantage of key minutes for IU in their first season in Bloomington.
Woods has seen action in every game this season and has been inserted into the lineup more as the season has moved forward. She’s recorded two assists in the last three Big Ten matchups.
Aucker was thrown into the fire immediately, starting her first seven career games and picking up the slack on the Hoosier backline with Supica out due to injury. Since being moved to a reserve role, she’s looked more comfortable on the field, stopping opponents on the attack.
With players stepping into new roles, this Hoosier team is seeking to become the winningest team in conference play in program history.
“We’ve just played as a team and really been able to connect passes,” Pearson said. “Everyone is filling a different role, and I think it’s just helped out a lot compared to last year.”