For the past five seasons, the IU women’s soccer team has relied on an upperclassman goalkeeper to be the last line of defense.
Graduates Lindsay Campbell, Shannon Flower and Sarah Stone were each either a junior or a senior, with prior collegiate playing experience when they played the majority of their respective seasons in goal for the Hoosiers.
Experience, however, is not found among this season’s crop of goalkeepers. Freshmen Sarah L’Hommedieu and Bristal Hadley-Mautino had never played in a college match prior to IU’s season opener on Aug. 19.
L’Hommedieu received the start for IU that night against Louisville, playing all 110 minutes of a match that ended 1-1 after extra time.
L’Hommedieu is more familiar with the team than most freshmen, though, after enrolling at IU early during the 2016 spring semester.
“Sarah did well. The decision to start her came down to the wire,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “We didn’t tell them that Sarah would start until the morning of the match.”
L’Hommedieu recorded three saves in the draw and did not allow a goal until the 76th minute. A bounce of the ball aided Louisville in the goal it scored as it was able to get in behind the IU defense.
“We knew that Louisville was going to serve quite a few balls into the air,” Berbary said. “We saw a little bit of Sarah’s ability in the air during the game.”
This season is Hadley-Mautino’s second with the Hoosiers. She did not play for the team last season and was granted another year of eligibility as a freshman.
Hadley-Mautino started for IU in the team’s second game of the season on Aug. 21, a 2-0 defeat to Western Michigan. Like L’Hommedieu, Hadley-Mautino also made three saves during her time in net for the Hoosiers against the Broncos.
“The goals that Western Michigan scored, it was the same kid twice,” Berbary said. “We left her open.”
Berbary was pleased with how both of her goalkeepers performed during the team’s opening matches, although several tough games await the Hoosiers. Five of IU’s next six opponents made the NCAA Tournament last season.
With 13 freshmen on the roster, IU will look for L’Hommedieu and Hadley-Mautino to be young leaders on this year’s team. Quality performances in net will also go a long way in dictating the level of success that IU enjoys this season.
The 30 goals conceded by IU last season were the most allowed by the team since 2013. Recent seasons of low goal production by the Hoosier offense has also placed an emphasis on the team’s goalkeeping to keep opponents off the scoreboard.
Regardless of the limited experience for L’Hommedieu and Hadley-Mautino, Berbary will not compromise the team’s commitment to defense.
“Indiana soccer prides ourselves on our defending,” Berbary said courtesy of a video on iuhoosiers.com.
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