The Hoosiers were able to recover from their defeats against ranked teams last weekend to post two wins — one at home and another on the road.
On Friday, IU defeated Rutgers, 3-2, in its first home conference match, and Sunday, IU cruised past Central Michigan 6-1 on the road with comfort.
“I think we just had a couple of players really give us that individual spark,” IU Coach Amanda Janney said. “For us, we know if the ball is in Taylor Pearson’s hands on the circle, we know that we can score.”
It was junior forward Pearson who created the individual spark against the Scarlet Knights on Friday. She netted her sixth goal in five games to put the Hoosiers up one heading into halftime.
During the first half, IU’s offense generated 11 shots, and its defense contained Rutgers to only four shots.
Ten minutes into the second half, Rutgers quickly tied the game and forced IU to take a more offensive stand that two minutes later turned into a second goal by Pearson. Following the second goal, senior Kate Barber effectively executed a penalty stroke to extend the Hoosier lead to 3-1.
In the final minutes of the game, Rutgers scored its second goal and sought to tie the game by pressing high in IU’s half of the field. Rutgers even pulled its goalie to add an extra field player.
However, the Hoosiers knew how to protect its lead by putting as many players in the circle to obstruct any Scarlet Knight attack for the Hoosiers’ first conference victory.
“It is a good change that we are finally in the driver’s seat,” Janney said. “That we should be controlling the game, controlling the tempo when you go up two goals — it is something we need to keep getting better at to make sure we finish games strong.”
On Sunday IU traveled to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to face Central Michigan, and, similarly to the game against Rutgers, IU became stronger after conceding a goal.
Pearson netted her eighth goal of the year early to put IU up 1-0, but allowed Central Michigan to tie the game in the 16th minute. However, IU responded with three more goals in the half.
Junior Maddie Latino was the most notable player on the field in the first half. Latino had one goal and one assist, Barber added another goal to her count and freshman forward Ciara Girouard netted her first career goal.
In the second half, the Hoosiers put the ball in the back of the net two more times to seal their victory against the Chippewas, who were not able to create many scoring opportunities after their goal in the first half.
Barber scored twice against Central Michigan to extend her scoring streak to nine games.
The senior captain now has the NCAA lead with 15 goals this season and 1.50 goals per game.
Girouard added another goal to her tally in the second half and finished the day with two.
After two consecutive victories this weekend, IU will play its third conference game at 3 p.m. Friday in Bloomington against Iowa.