The IU field hockey program finally got the two wins it needed last weekend.
IU beat Michigan State and St. Louis, ending its Big Ten Conference losing streak that stretched all the way back to 2016.
For the Hoosiers, getting a conference win has been a big source of confidence heading into the back stretch of the season.
“It felt great," senior midfielder Claire Woods said. "It’s amazing. It’s been a while since we had one of those and since we’ve been here, we hadn’t beaten Michigan State so that was really important to us."
IU will once again welcome a tough slate of conference opponents to Bloomington this weekend as ranked Maryland and Rutgers teams will visit the IU Field Hockey Complex.
IU’s matchup against Maryland will start at 3 p.m. Friday, while Sunday’s contest with Rutgers will begin at noon.
Maryland leads the conference in goals scored, while Rutgers is third. For IU, another strong defensive performance like last weekend's will be crucial.
For 139 of the 140 minutes played last weekend, IU kept its opponents scoreless, before St. Louis snuck in a last-minute goal.
“It’s really disappointing that we didn’t always have strong performances early in the season, but I think that did force us to have strong defense to hold off teams,” senior back Elle Hempt said. “I think it’s those early season lessons paying off in the second half.”
The IU offensive attack has struggled this season. The Hoosiers have scored just 16 goals in 13 contests, good enough for eighth in the Big Ten. A fourth of those goals came this weekend with one against Michigan State and three against St. Louis, adding an extra boost of momentum for IU.
“It’s been a while since we were able to get goals, especially field goals so that was great to have different people scoring,” Woods said. “Everyone just had such a great weekend so we’re all looking to play again.”
Maryland comes in this Friday at 13-1, having suffered its only defeat in its last outing against Penn State. The Terrapins are coming off an appearance in the National Championship game last season and boast the highest scoring offense in the conference. The task will be daunting, but this is exactly how IU Coach Janney Misselhorn said she wants it.
“They play a fast style of hockey and they’re going to move the ball quickly which is exactly the type of game we want to play,” Janney Misselhorn said. “I think we’ve matched up fantastic against other top-10 teams we’ve played so we just need to keep them off the boards early and make it a game in the second half.”