Indiana Daily Student

IU faces off against No. 6 Maryland

IU is going to the Big Ten tournament.

Reaching the postseason tournament was one of the goals set at the beginning of the year by the field hockey team. Now IU will be able to get an early test against the best in the conference when it takes on No. 6 Maryland on Friday.

Maryland brings the best offense IU will face this season and is undefeated in conference play. Maryland is atop the conference in goals and assists per game while also nearly doubling IU in shots this season.

“Knowing how talented Maryland is traditionally and knowing the players they have, it’s going to be such a good battle,” IU Coach Amanda Janney said. “Seeing what we did against Syracuse to really limit some of their attackers, we’re very confident going into Friday’s game.”

Maryland plays similarly to Iowa and Northwestern, with all three teams taking a lot of shots and priding themselves on the offensive side of the field. IU was able to upset the pair of ranked conference opponents in September with timely goals and stout defense.

The Hoosiers must run the same formula if they want to compete on the road against the conference’s best, as the players and coaches have said all year they’re focused on playing field hockey and not worrying about the opposition.

“We just came out with confidence against Iowa and Northwestern, like we did this weekend as well,” senior defender Sydney Supica said. “Coming out strong and playing our game and not letting how they’re playing dictate our type of play and just playing together as a team.”

Junior defender Kate Barber stepped up for IU during the weekend, as she netted two goals against Ohio State and had the game-winning assist against Penn State. Her efforts earned her Big Ten co-offensive player of the week honors, a title she shared with Maryland’s senior 
forward Welma Luus.

“I don’t think other people get enough credit for the things that we’re doing out there,” Barber said. “The reason we get corners is because of our attack inside the 25, everyone on the field has contributed and stepped up to big roles.”

Luus leads the Terrapins with 12 goals this season, finding the back of the net 33 percent of the time.

After being dismantled on its home turf last season by Maryland, 8-2, IU will look to avenge last year’s defeat Friday.

IU will conclude its two-game northeastern road trip against American University (9-5) Sunday. Traveling on the road this season has taken a toll on IU, as it has only been able to post two wins away from home.

“I know flying will take a toll on us,” Barber said. “But just really focusing on our bodies and taking care of ourselves is key. Having the momentum from this weekend will be a really big part while we’re on the road.”

American will be the last non-conference game on the IU slate this season before returning home for its final game of the season against Big Ten opponent Rutgers in preparation for the 
conference tournament.

Looking long-term for the Hoosiers, the team has an outside but realistic shot at making the NCAA tournament. Playing a team like the Terrapins, who have won five national titles since 2005, could help prepare IU for the potentially tough postseason opponents.

“Being back on the winning side, the positive encouragement and the connections throughout the team — it’s really a great environment right now,” Janney said. “They’re working hard and having fun, and it’s a great way to be.”

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