IU showed improvement from its first weekend of games with a quality performance in the Buckeye Invitational this weekend in Columbus, Ohio.
Although IU fell short in a 2-1 loss against No. 7 Wake Forest on Sunday, the Hoosiers were never totally out of it. IU rebounded Monday to defeat UC Davis 2-0.
Wake Forest opened the scoring five minutes into the contest, and, although it seemed like more Demon Deacon goals would follow, the Hoosier defense reorganized and kept Wake Forest’s offense at bay for the rest of the first half.
“After the first goal, we learned as a defensive unit what the team was doing,” junior defender Elle Hempt said in a release. “We played smart, utilized our links and outside midfielders to shut down their attack.”
Wake Forest would strike again 10 minutes into the second half and gave the Demon Deacons enough of a buffer to stay in the lead before a late goal by IU senior defender Kate Barber brought the deficit for IU back to one.
Even with two goals, sophomore goalie Noëlle Rother came close to pitching a shutout. Both goals came off rebounds, and overall Rother added another seven blocked shots. Although the Demon Deacons’ second half goal proved to be a little too much, IU Coach Amanda Janney was satisfied with the performance and fighting spirit the Hoosiers demonstrated in the second half.
“We finished strong,” Janney said. “It was exciting to have the momentum on our end after scoring that goal. We tried some new strategies, and the team responded well to tough competition.”
That momentum carried over into IU’s domination of UC Davis, as Rother saved the one shot the Hoosiers allowed.
The Hoosiers compiled 13 shots on goal out of 19 shots and got the upper hand on their opponent less than two minutes into the first half.
Junior forward Maddie Latino, off a pass from senior defender Malia Fujisawa, sent the ball into the lower left corner of the goal before the Aggie goalie could react.
“I saw the open lane and the left foot of the defender as a target, and I know how Maddie plays,” Fujisawa said. “When she cut back to the ball and received it, I knew that was going to be golden.”
It’s the fastest goal IU’s scored this season. IU continued to add to the goal with shots throughout the first half and doubled its lead when Barber capitalized on a rebound in the 32nd minute for her second goal on the weekend. IU pressured UC Davis throughout the matchup, but wasn’t able to record a third goal.
Janney said the Hoosiers have improved a lot since the first two games of the season.
Last weekend, four goals separated IU and No. 12 Louisville, while this week IU lost to No. 7 Wake Forest by one. An overtime win against Ohio turned into a dominating 2-0 victory against UC Davis.
Next week, IU faces Missouri State on the road. The game will be at 6 p.m. Friday in St. Louis. IU will face New Hampshire on Sunday at home.
“Our team is improving every single game, so we want to take our positive and great individual contributions that are building into a solid team effort,” Janney said.