With four games left on its regular season schedule, the margin for error is dwindling for the IU women's soccer team.
The Hoosiers own the eighth and final spot for the Big Ten Conference Tournament with a 7-5-2 overall record with a 3-4-0 mark in conference games.
IU had lost four straight conference games before ending that losing streak Sunday with a comeback, Senior Day win against Minnesota.
Down a goal to the Golden Gophers in the second half Sunday, the Hoosiers rallied back to score two goals in the final seven minutes of regulation to steal an important win. Senior forward Mykayla Brown recorded the game-winning goal for her second score of the game.
“We needed that win under our belt,” Brown said. “It definitely meant a lot to us, especially after going through that losing streak. I think it raised the energy for all of us and got our heads high.”
Brown has been a significant offensive contributor for IU, registering 11 points in IU’s last six games. Additionally the Indianapolis native has scored five goals in the last five games.
With 14 points this season, Brown needs four more for a new career best mark.
This weekend the Hoosiers will go back on the road to face Northwestern and Illinois, two of the better defensive teams in the conference.
“Both teams have some extraordinary athletes in their back lines, so we just have to continue to push and find a way to score,” Berbary said. “We’re going to have to earn ourselves some set pieces and when we get into that final 30 yards, we have to make sure we get a shot or a cross off.”
The Wildcats are one of three ranked teams in the Big Ten, but recent losses to Rutgers and Maryland have stalled their season’s progress. The Fighting Illini are coming off a 1-0 loss in overtime to Rutgers, pushing their conference record 3-4-0, the same as IU.
When the Hoosiers travel to Illinois this weekend, they’ll be playing in two difficult road environments. Northwestern and Illinois are a combined 9-3 at home this season and they’ve allowed a combined total of seven goals on their home turf.
“It’s going to be difficult," Berbary said. "Our road record isn’t great. We’ve got a fire power of an offense, so we’re pretty confident right now with the goals that we’re scoring. We just have to make sure we’re as focused on the road as we are at home.”
A chance to play in the Big Ten Tournament looms large for the Hoosiers, and this year’s seniors, like Brown, said they want to leave everything on the field to try and return to the postseason.
“I want to leave knowing I did everything I could to make this team successful,” Brown said. “I motivate myself by saying that this is my last year and that I need to go all out.”
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