After getting its first conference victory, IU field hockey will seek to come out on top against two tough opponents this weekend.
Last weekend, IU defeated Rutgers and Central Michigan and look to take their second conference win against No. 18 Iowa at home Friday before traveling to Miami University on Sunday.
“Huge weekend for us,” Janney said. “Iowa is traditionally such a great team. They are really well-coached, and they are very well structured in their system and penalty corner execution.”
Although the Hawkeyes are ranked, they have not won any of their three conference games this season. Most recently they were defeated 2-1 at home by IU’s last conference opponent, Rutgers.
Other than Rutgers, Iowa faced No. 8 Maryland the same weekend and lost 4-2. The Hawkeyes scored one more goal than the Hoosiers did when the Terrapins defeated them at College Park, Maryland.
Janney said it is key for the Hoosiers to be aggressive early in the game to control the pace of the match and get a positive result tomorrow afternoon.
“It is really important for us to score early against Iowa,” Janney said. “They are in a tough position, so we know they are going to come in hungry to play their best and we need to make sure to protect our home field as we did last year.”
In their previous matchup last season in Bloomington, the Hoosiers defeated the Hawkeyes 3-1. Junior forward Taylor Pearson and senior captain Kate Barber scored and figure to be leading the charge again for the Hoosiers tomorrow.
The only difference is Barber is now the Big Ten-leading scorer with 15 goals and will be a player Iowa will need to pay extra attention to when defending its goal.
“I think it is very critical for us to get a victory,” Barber said. “Right now we are 1-1 in the Big Ten, so this gives us the opportunity to go on top especially with their start. I think we can really capitalize on opportunities that we have.”
Janney said because opposing teams will be focused a lot on marking Barber, that should open more opportunities for the remaining Hoosier offensive players.
A few opportunities might fall to freshman forward Ciara Girouard, who will try to finalize them after netting two goals in her scoring debut last week against Central Michigan.
IU will also need to be strong offensively when they go on the road to face Miami on Sunday. The RedHawks defense is only allowing 1.7 goals per game this season, while the potent Hoosier offense is averaging more than three goals per game.
This will be the third and last time the Hoosiers play a Mid-American Conference opponent away and the 17th time playing the RedHawks, which they lead 11-5 in the all-time series. Miami is 5-5 this season and will go on the road Friday to face Missouri State before playing IU during the weekend.
The game against Iowa will take place at 3 p.m. Friday in Bloomington, and the game against Miami will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday in Oxford, Ohio.