Two years ago, IU Coach Amanda Janney thought if she wanted her new team to boast a strong defense, she needed to bring then-freshman Elle Hempt from her former team, Temple.
Turns out, Janney was right.
Hempt’s presence on the Hoosier backline and ability to record vital defensive interceptions have given IU an extra boost in confidence.
Today, Hempt is a junior at IU and an essential player in Janney’s starting lineup. She also has become an influential individual among her teammates, who selected her as a team captain this year.
“I think she is playing great,” Janney said. “For the midfielders, they can make a mistake and Elle is going to clean it up behind them and I think that is a great sign for a defender that she is back there working hard and making some huge plays.”
Although last season she was not able to participate due to an injury, the Pennsylvania native did not stop being a leader for the team off the field.
Hempt exceeded academically during her recovery and earned a NFHCA National Academic Squad selection with Scholar of Distinction honors.
This season Hempt has started in every game for the Hoosiers and her most notable performances on defense took place when the team shutout UC Davis, Missouri State and then-No. 12 Michigan.
“It is not only me,” Hempt said. “I have phenomenal players around me with phenomenal goalkeeping, good outside midfields and two captain seniors in the midfield really surrounding me. It makes my job easier.”
Hempt’s significance extends to IU’s offensive strategy as well. She also goes into the opponent’s circle each time the Hoosiers have an offensive penalty corner in order to look for shot opportunities.
Through offensive penalty corners, Hempt has taken 13 shots, four on goal, but has yet to find the back of the net for her first collegiate goal.
As the regular season comes to an end this weekend, Hempt and the Hoosiers are already setting their sights on the Big Ten tournament. Janney said the Hoosiers need more consistency both defensively and offensively.
Hempt is still focused on the regular season, however, and has her eyes trained on No. 2 Syracuse and No. 6 Penn State.
“This weekend is great preparation for the tournament,” Hempt said. “Our goal is to win the Big Ten championship, so just going in and playing the team that is on top of the Big Ten prepares pretty well for the upcoming tournament.”
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