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IU set for first round matchup in Big Ten tournament



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The IU field hockey team huddles before its match against Northwestern. The Hoosiers defeated the Wildcats 2-1. IDS File and IDS File Buy Photos

IU Coach Amanda Janney wants to get even with Penn State.

After a second-half comeback attempt fell one goal short against the No. 6 team in the nation on the road last weekend, Janney plans to implement new strategies to get back at the Nittany Lions in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.

“I think it is great we are playing them so close together,” Janney said. “I think we are going to do our best to keep the momentum going and start out as strong as possible. You have a little more motivation when you know you did not play your 100-percent best the last you played the team.”

Last season, in Janney’s first Big Ten Tournament at IU, it was the Nittany Lions who knocked them out in quarterfinals and ended the Hoosiers’ season.

Junior forward Maddie Latino scored in the 3-1 loss against Penn State and said the team is ready to upset the second-seeded Nittany Lions and get its first postseason win under Janney’s lead.

Last time IU got to the semifinals of the competition was in 2012, when it defeated Northwestern 4-0.

“It has definitely been in our minds,” Latino said about their postseason game last year. “We definitely want to come back, take it to them and get another win. It is really in our benefit that we played them last weekend and that we have such a short turnaround to play them.”

Latino also said IU has an advantage because they got to play another game after facing Penn State, whereas the Nittany Lions have not played at all since then and will most likely display the same strategy.

Senior defender Kate Barber, who was selected this week to participate in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association’s Division I Senior Game, said IU has been watching a lot of film from their last encounter, and in order to win Thursday will need to make defensive adjustments.

“Really working on our back tackles and really just staying in the play,” Barber said. “They do a lot of give and goes and one-time passes, so really just working on our recovery defense and getting our weak side forwards to really just stay in the play.”

Barber added that the mentality of the team the entire season has been to play like it’s the last game. She expects the Hoosiers to apply this going into postseason play, she said.

The game will take place at 12:30 p.m. Thursday in Maryland’s Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. If IU defeats Penn State, the Hoosiers would play at 1 p.m. Friday in the semifinals against the winner of No. 3 seed Michigan and No. 6 seed Michigan State.

“I think our team is so fired up to do well in the postseason,” Janney said. “I think last year, being the first year after not making it the year before, I think we had some nervous players and people not getting used to getting into postseason. So I think, knowing this year what the pressure feels like and using the experience from last year, we are in a much better place this season.”

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