By the time the IU women’s soccer team stepped off Jerry Yeagley Field after its season-opening 3-0 win, there was one thing on the players' minds: Road trip.
For the next two weekends, IU will be on the road as it plays out its next four non-conference games.
This weekend, the Hoosiers will head down to Georgia and South Carolina.
Though it should be business as usual for the team, Friday night will be different for IU Coach Amy Berbary.
Having played collegiate soccer at Georgia, it will be a homecoming for Berbary, a native of Alpharetta.
“I’ve gotten quite a few texts and emails from people who are still in the area, even some fans that used to watch me play a long, long time ago,” Berbary said.
The last time Berbary was in Athens, she was an assistant coach for Auburn when the Tigers and Bulldogs met for SEC-play in 2012. She spent five years at Auburn before accepting the head coaching job in Bloomington.
Before graduating from Georgia in 2002, Berbary made major contributions for the Bulldogs on the pitch. In her four years at the school, the team made two NCAA tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 1998.
When her career at Georgia came to a close, Berbary ranked third all-time in goals and points in school history.
Berbary said she knows exactly what type of environment to expect for her team on Friday, but she does not want to shy away from the opportunity for them to shine in it.
“It’s going to be such a cool atmosphere to play in,” Berbary said. “Athens is such a soccer town and it’s their home-opener, so I would imagine they are going to have thousands of people there. I think our team is going to thrive in there.”
Before the Hoosiers head out to Clemson for Sunday’s match, Berbary will be eager to see how her old stomping grounds have changed.
“It will be exciting just to see how the university has developed,” Berbary said. “We’ll also try to have a good dinner at one of my favorite places in town.”
That restaurant is Last Resort Grill. Located in downtown Athens, its contemporary southern cooking serves people its food from the comfort of a historic music club called Last Resort that opened in 1966.
Berbary will not be the only member of the team returning home on the upcoming four-game road trip.
Junior defender Julia Gilliam will be within an hour of her high school when the team plays at Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount in California next weekend.
Though none of her high school teammates play for either school, Gilliam played against a player from Loyola Marymount in both her high school and club soccer careers. However, the junior’s history with both schools goes back a long way.
“Both tried recruiting me out of high school,” Gilliam said. “I went to a camp at Pepperdine when I was 10, so I’ve actually been there a couple of times. Loyola Marymount pursued me pretty heavily, but ultimately IU was the place for me.”