After an 0-4 start to conference play, IU finally put a mark in the win column. On Friday, IU defeated Michigan State 1-0 and improved its record to 3-9 and 1-4 in the Big Ten. Here are three takeaways from the game.
1. IU is playing consistent field hockey
Despite what the scoreboard has read lately for the Hoosiers, they have been inching closer to pulling out victories. The Hoosiers are also starting to put together full 70-minute matches, which is what they did on Friday.
While the goals haven’t been coming at the rapid rate they wanted, with just one a piece in the past two matches, IU is getting opportunities they didn’t have at the beginning of the season.
During Friday’s game against Michigan State, IU controlled the attack for most of the second half. IU’s midfield did a solid job of controlling the ball, setting up attackers near the 25-yard mark to get a lot more balls put in front of the net. Look for the trend to continue as the Hoosiers head into Sunday’s matchup against St. Louis.
2. Sachi Ananias has a solid effort
After taking over near the beginning of the year as the starting goalie, sophomore Sachi Ananias turned in arguably her strongest performance of the year for the Hoosiers on Friday.
Ananias faced 11 shots in Friday’s contest, making dives to her right and stick saves to keep Michigan State off the board. The Spartans had a strong first half putting seven shots on net but Ananias was able to keep everything off the board.
Ananias kept IU in the ballgame even as the offense struggled for the Hoosiers and helped lead IU to their first conference win since 2016.
3. Seniors are stepping up at the right time
With less than six minutes left in the game, it appeared IU and Michigan State were headed for overtime. That was before senior Taylor Swope stepped up at just the right time.
Swope took a ball from midfield and snaked her way through the defense before beating the goalie to her right for an unassisted goal that proved to be the game winner. In need of a big win today, the IU seniors helped lead the Hoosiers in what could have been described as a dog fight game.
Swope and graduate student Elle Hempt among others were instrumental in keeping Michigan State off the board and pushing the ball forward on the IU attack. IU gets two more home matches before a Senior Day game against Rutgers. If IU wants to carry momentum into the Big Ten Tournament, they’ll need their seniors to continue their hot play.