The women’s soccer team will play against Kentucky and Kansas State this upcoming weekend – IU’s final non-conference matchups of the season.
Last weekend, the Hoosiers traveled to California to square off against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. IU left the Golden State with a pair of 2-1 wins in response to its first defeat of the year, a 4-2 loss to Clemson on Aug. 26.
“I’m really happy with our progress on defense, but we still have a long way to go,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said.
Kentucky started the season 3-0, but have since fallen to 3-3.
A 3-1 loss to Wisconsin and one-goal losses to Louisville and Eastern Kentucky have sent the Wildcats reeling. In dire need of more offense, Kentucky had sophomore Miranda Jimenez, its leading point scorer from last year, return from injury last weekend.
Hungry to get back in the win column, the Wildcats won’t be treated lightly by Berbary’s bunch.
“Their record does not reflect how good they are,” Berbary said. “With their front five, that’s the heart of their team. We will need to make sure we keep the ball and not have as many unforced errors as we did last weekend.”
Berbary has kept an eye on her defense's growth and improvement throughout the young season.
Graduate defender/midfielder Claudia Day has been a big part of the refurbished IU defense. The transfer from Wake Forest picked up her first points as a Hoosier last weekend.
“Transitioning into the backline, having a chance to help out on offense, was pretty exciting,” Day said. “I think going 2-0 this weekend would be nice for our confidence heading into Big Ten play.”
In her four years at Wake Forest, Day played in 54 total games. However, an injury forced her to miss out on most of her sophomore season and the start of her junior campaign.
For Day’s senior season, the defending-mid started in just three games.
If it weren’t for a former coach, Day would have never found her way to Bloomington after completing her undergraduate degree.
“One of my assistants at Wake Forest knew Amy before this, so that was my connection,” Day said. “When I came on my visit, I liked the coaches, the players and the city’s atmosphere. It was a good fit.”
As for IU’s second Wildcat opponent of the weekend, Kansas State comes in with the same 3-1-1 record as the Hoosiers.
Shutting out four of its first five opponents, Kansas State's defense is among the hottest in the country.
The only two goals the team allowed this season were from a top-10 Santa Clara team.
“As good as we are offensively, we’ve got two new defenses to play against this weekend,” Berbary said. “We have to make sure we’re mobile and changing things up. We need more interchange between our front three.”
Friday’s match against Kentucky will kick off at 5 p.m. and will be followed by the mens team’s game against Virginia Commonwealth University.
Sunday, the women’s squad will have Bill Armstrong Stadium to themselves for their 1 p.m. duel with Kansas State.
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