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Thursday, May 30
The Indiana Daily Student

sports field hockey

Hoosiers see results under first-year coach

Senior forward Karen Lorite tries to regain control of the ball during the game against Penn State University on Thursday evening. IU lost the game, 3-1.

Senior defender Sydney Supica broke down on the turf when the clock hit triple zeros Thursday at the IU Field Hockey Complex to end the Big Ten quarterfinals. Tears came to her eyes as her teammates helped her up. The season was finished. The turnaround was done.

But the beginning was just underway.

In her first season at the helm, IU Coach Amanda Janney was able to take a program that had two conference wins during the last three seasons and win a school-record five conference wins in one season, earning a third-place standing in the Big Ten.

Although it was the end of the road for four key seniors in Janney’s lineup, the Hoosiers are filled with young players to drive them for many seasons to come. The five-conference-win 2015 campaign that was brought to an abrupt end in the Big Ten quarterfinals against Penn State was filled with numerous highlights from young Hoosiers as well as experienced ones.

“For the underclassmen, we have so many opportunities to get back and to get where we want to go,” junior defender Malia Fujisawa said. “This should drive us. We know what we’re capable of doing. We just need to push ourselves to get to the next level.”

From day one under Janney this young group of players bought into her philosophies. Coming from Temple University, where she had built a legacy of her own, Janney knew she had a tough task in front of her: rebuilding a program in a competitive conference.

The seniors didn’t have to buy in, but they did, Janney said repeatedly throughout the season. The Hoosiers didn’t get off to the most ideal start with five straight road games, including a West Coast road trip, and with a 2-3 record.

Janney said she wasn’t quite aware that she had such a talent in goal at the time, but she could see the potential in freshman goalkeeper Noelle Rother. Janney was still waiting for her to blossom after she came from Germany. Janney said she was pleased when the Hoosiers returned to Bloomington.

“She’s a fearless goalie, she plays aggressive, she’s not afraid to come out and make a tackle,” Janney said. “Point-blank shots they still can’t get by her. Her communication had really stepped up, and you can just play with so much confidence knowing that you have such a great goalkeeper behind you.”

After dropping the first home game of the season, IU rallied off four consecutive wins on its home turf, with Rother being a factor in every game. The team said that they knew they could rely on Rother in goal, which ultimately led to the rise in play among underclassmen.

Sophomore forward Maddie Latino solidified her position on the Hoosier offensive attack after registering just one goal her freshman year. Latino led the team with 10 goals along with eight assists this 

Junior defender Kate Barber was the ultimate team player, wreaking havoc on both sides of the ball and whistling straight shots off penalty corners and big stops on defense. That type of effort all season earned Barber a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection with eight goals, seven assists and two defensive saves.

“Her play has been awesome,” Supica said about Barber. “She’s been very consistent for us, which is incredible especially as a center back, being consistent not only on defense but also on attack. Her stick skills are phenomenal and she’s the reason we scored most of our goals this year.”

The Hoosiers hit a rough patch in their season after dropping two straight road games and then falling to No. 1 Syracuse at home. After that, the senior leadership started to take over. Supica supported the back line, as the Hoosiers conquered two straight conference shutout wins, with Rother playing exceptionally in each game.

Supica’s timely goals and key defensive saves in correlation with the play of fellow senior forwards, Rachel Stauffer, Karen Lorite and Nicole Volgraf, served as key elements in the recipe of success for IU. The upperclassmen taught the young crop of talent how to respond down the stretch.

“To me, I’m building a program,” Janney said. “I do see big picture things in terms of developing our younger players, but I’m really proud of our seniors. The way that they fought hard and led made this such a great experience for me in my first year.”

Rother capped off an impressive freshman campaign with 114 saves, the third-highest single-season total in program history. She was second in the conference in save percentage (0.770) while posting a 1.81 
goals-against average and two shutouts.

Along with Rother and Latino, the Hoosiers saw other young members step up, such as junior midfielder Morgan Dye and sophomore midfielders Taylor Pearson and Abby Urbanek. Freshmen forward Claire Woods and midfielder Charlie Kaste also showed signs of promise and appear to be a main compenent of Janney’s club in the future.

The Hoosiers made immeasurable gains this season, but are far from reaching their potential as a collective unit. They were able to establish a base from which to build in the future. With the core of its talent returning next year, Janney said shes hopes to build off of this season’s accomplishments to take the next step into becoming a higher-quality hockey team.

“Our team has responded and had such a great reflection of a Division I student athlete, that they just work so hard on and off the field, and the results show with their conference wins,” Janney said. “The team unity here is special, to have our seniors upset and crying at the end of the game, it’s because they love this sport so much, and they’re passionate about the team and what we’re building here.”

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