Even after two full 90-minute scrimmages this week, the IU field hockey team showed no signs of fatigue as the Hoosiers rolled over Ball State, 6-2, in the final tuneup of the preseason.
Junior Sheridan Weiss’s hat trick led the way for IU as the Hoosiers went for six goals, five of which came in the second half and overtime.
“Sheri makes things happen," IU Coach Amanda Janney Misselhorn said. "She's really been working to hone down her forward skills and it’s nice to see her produce. Again, she had some great plays last fall. She’s becoming more and more reliable on the frontline. We don’t know what’s going to happen but something good is going to happen when she gets the ball.”
After going scoreless in the first two preseason games, Weiss broke the ice right before the half, netting the lone first half goal in the 34th minute. Weiss went on to score again in the 51st and 77th minutes.
“I was out for the spring season so coming back I was really excited to just improve and get the ability to play," Weiss said. "I think just working off that and working everyday to get better is what I’m improving on."
IU’s defense held Saint Louis scoreless Tuesday and impressed in the Cream and Crimson Scrimmage Friday. The Hoosiers continued the trend Saturday, holding Ball State scoreless for a majority of the first half before letting up two goals on penalties in the second half.
While the backline put consistent pressure on Ball State, senior Elle Hempt credits the midfield and forwards for putting the defense in a great position to make plays.
“I don’t think you can put it all on the defense," Hempt said. "There’s so much in front of us that has to come together for us to make the big step-ups and saves in the back. I think that having forwards play good D on the press and having the mids take away great lines allows the defense to have intercepts from the back.”
Outside of Weiss, senior Nora Aucker, Hempt and junior Sam Scire also put the ball in the back of the net for the Hoosiers on Saturday.
Aucker finished a goal in the 45th minute, knocking the ball out of midair after a deflection, for her first goal of the year. IU’s ability to draw eight corners on the day impressed Janney Misselhorn and she said she believes it will continue to give them great chances to score throughout the season.
“It’s great to get practice in and to try different things out on the penalty corners," Janney Misselhorn said. "We really want that to be a huge strength of ours. I think we have some great hitters and it’s nice to see us executing."
Despite battling extreme heat and periodic rain showers, the Hoosiers’ morale remained high as IU transitioned into the rotations fans will likely see in the season opener against Louisville on Friday in Bloomington.
The starting eleven got a good run in the first half while freshmen and reserves came into contribute off the bench, providing a sense of optimism for IU.
“It was good to see just the depth and energy off the bench," Janney Misselhorn said. "I think we’re deeper than we’ve ever been and the energy was really high in the second overtime. It gives us a lot of great options. With different combinations on the field, it was nice to see different people connecting with each other.”
As the Hoosiers head into the season opener against Louisville on Friday, Hempt knows it’ll be tough but believes it gives Indiana a great chance to start the season on the right leg.
“I’m just excited to get into regular gameplay," Hempt said. "Louisville is an awesome opponent who is always a big test for us. I’m looking forward to seeing how we play against such good competition."
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