Last season was one of inconsistencies for the IU women's soccer team.
When the Hoosiers ended their 2017 campaign with a 2-1 loss to No. 13 Ohio State, it pushed their record to 6-9-4 for 11th place in the Big Ten and they missed the cut for the Big Ten Tournament for the third time in four years.
Sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Kopel had four shutout wins to her name, but also let up more than two goals on three occasions. As a team, IU won twice as many matches on the road than at home.
Now, as they head into the 2018 season, IU is looking to improve on last year with a group of young players and new additions to the coaching staff that have IU Coach Amy Berbary more excited for an upcoming season than she's ever been during her time in Bloomington.
“It’s the most excited I’ve been since I’ve been here,” Berbary said. “The team chemistry is through the roof. The coaches and team are on board to do something big this year.”
Kopel will be back in goal after recording the third-most saves in the conference last season, while the team’s top six goal scorers are returning.
The Hoosiers also had three players find their names on 2018 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Honors List on Aug. 13. Seniors Mykayla Brown and Maya Piper joined junior Chandra Davidson on the list after combining for 40 points last season.
Meanwhile, a pair of new assistant coaches will help bolster their performance.
This offseason, associate head coach Sergio Gonzalez took off for a job at Ohio State and assistant coach Michael Regan left the team to become the head coach at North Dakota State.
However, IU had no trouble finding replacements for them.
In February, the team announced the signing of Sandy Davison, a former midfielder that Berbary said has “an attacking sense and offensive mind."
Davison spent four years as an assistant coach at Washington State, where the Cougars racked up a record of 42-28-10.
Replacing Gonzalez will be Daniel Brizard, who has bounced between the college coaching ranks for 20 years. Most recently, he finished up his second coaching stint in Baton Rouge with Lousiana State University where he helped with goalkeepers, medical trainers, film and scouting.
"He’s been a head coach and his goalkeeping experience is second-to-none," Berbary said. "His energy and passion for the game has brought a new level to our goalkeeping.”
The team has been practicing together for the last two weeks in preparation for the 2018 season. On Aug. 9, the team played Ohio State in an exhibition, where the Buckeyes scored the lone goal of the game in the first half, en route to a 1-0 win over the Hoosiers.
IU will now prepare to put all those pieces together in its season-opener against Wake Forest in the Hoosier Challenge Cup on Aug. 17 at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
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