IU field hockey came into this weekend in desperate need of a win. Instead, it got two.
After Friday’s win over Michigan State, IU carried the energy into Sunday’s affair with St. Louis, downing the Billikens 3-1 on a sweltering Sunday afternoon.
IU wasted no time putting goals on the board in the first half as junior Jessica Morford beat the St. Louis keeper to the left corner in the 13th minute for her first career goal.
"It felt really good,” Morford said. ”Ciara made a great pass and so did Nora, so it was definitely our whole team working as a unit to make those scoring opportunities happen.”
Junior Kelsey Giese followed Morford’s effort just seven minutes later, finishing off a shot from a penalty corner. Morford added to her career day with another goal in the 62nd minute, finishing off the victory.
All three goals for the Hoosiers came off corner and set pieces, an area that IU Coach Amanda Janney Misselhorn has emphasized all season. Finishing corners had been a struggle for IU most of this season, but Sunday’s effort flashed the potential IU has off set pieces.
“We’ve really been working on not just the first corner, but the second ball as well, making sure that we have at least five girls around the ball to put it in the goal," Giese said.
After IU took a 2-0 lead into halftime, St. Louis was fired up in the next period, putting six shots on goal for goalies Sachi Ananias and Shelby Querry to defend. IU remained focused, defending off the St. Louis attack and responding with its own collection of shots in the second half.
“We just responded with a lot more intensity,” Giese said. “I think that we really want to dictate the pace of play every game, so we don’t like to come out and tell us how it’s going to be played."
Sunday’s effort was one of the most solid efforts IU has turned in during a single match this season.
“We’re so happy that we’re playing good hockey, that we’re passing the ball and just having such good teamwork out there,” Janney Misselhorn said. “To me, this is the way we should be playing. We’re taking all of the lessons we’ve learned throughout the season and to show that especially on a Sunday is huge for our program.”
With another tough weekend ahead for IU as No. 2 Maryland and Rutgers visit Bloomington, this weekend’s performance could serve as a turning point for the rest of the season.
IU finally has momentum back just as the Hoosiers get down to the wire.
“It gives us a lot confidence going forward,” Giese said. “It’s all Big Ten games from here, so these two games, getting a lot of shots and goals, have given us a lot of confidence going into next weekend.”
IU will be back in action at 3 p.m. Friday against Maryland and then noon Sunday for senior day against Rutgers.