After going winless in the Big Ten Conference last season, IU field hockey will look to turn the tide this year.
The Hoosiers are 0-2 in conference play so far this season, but will have a multitude of opportunities to change their luck this year.
Here are some matchups that could help IU make a push for postseason play.
Oct. 5: Michigan State
An early-October date with the Spartans at home may provide IU with its best chance for a conference win this season.
Michigan State is coming off an equally disappointing 8-11 season last year. The Spartans bested IU 3-2 last season in a close match, but were demolished in their final three games of the season following that victory.
Michigan State has a lot of turnover from last year and has gotten off to a slow offensive start this season. The IU matchup is right in the middle of a tough conference stretch for the Spartans.
Isa van der Weij is a crucial offensive piece for Michigan State as a freshman. The Spartans will need several goals to keep a hungry and aggressive IU team at bay.
Oct. 12: Maryland
Just a year removed from playing for the national title, Maryland could be the Hoosiers’ toughest conference foe of the season.
The Terrapins play a gauntlet of a schedule that already features wins over Duke and Boston College. Maryland will be tested before their trip to Bloomington, and with players like Nike Lorenz and Bodil Keus, Maryland has a very potent offensive attack.
Maryland’s date with IU is on the heels of a road matchup with Penn State and right before a big trip to Iowa. The night before the homecoming football game should give the Hoosiers a larger-than-usual crowd and an opportunity to beat a good team they played down to the wire last season.
Oct. 14: Rutgers
Senior Day 2018 will be an emotional day for the players from IU Coach Amanda Janney Misselhorn’s first recruiting class.
This final game could be one of the most important for the season as the Hoosiers battle for positioning in the Big Ten Tournament. With a lot of young talent back, Rutgers has gotten off to a hot start including a win over No. 18 St. Joseph’s.
The Scarlet Knights run into a tough stretch of play before visiting Bloomington, including important conference matchups against Northwestern and Maryland. Rutgers will likely be battling for a top seed in the Big Ten Tournament and an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
A visit to IU could be a trap game at the end of the season for Rutgers, especially if the Hoosier offense heats up by senior day.