The IU field hockey team opens its 20th season facing the University of Louisville and Drexel University this weekend.
Both teams will test the Hoosiers out of the gate to begin their season. IU is 5-12 all time in the Battle of the Border against Louisville and are looking for their first win against them since 2012.
The Cardinals are ranked 12th in the country by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, and they have now been ranked in the top 20 for 65 straight weeks dating back to 2013.
The Cardinals return their top-two goal scorers from last season, senior Bethany Russ and sophomore Erica Cooper. Russ and Cooper both had goals in the Cardinals’ 2-1 victory over the Hoosiers last season and scored or assisted on more than half of their team’s goals last year.
If there is any position for the Hoosiers to exploit against Louisville, it would be the goalkeeping. Louisville’s returning goalkeeper, junior Hollyn Barr, only had one appearance last season, playing behind four-time All-American Ayeisha McFerran, who graduated this past spring.
The Hoosiers begin their three-game home stand against the Drexel Dragons on Sunday. In last year’s matchup, Drexel held IU scoreless in a 2-0 shutout in Philadelphia.
Drexel returns their most decorated player, senior midfielder Tess Bernheimer, from last year’s campaign. After scoring a team-high 12 goals last year, she was named to the 2018 All-Colonial Athletic Association First Team, as well as the preseason All-CAA First Team this year.
Drexel head coach Denise Zelenak will return for her 25th season at the helm for the Dragons this year, with 246 career wins and 8 CAA Championship appearances to her name. Last year, she led Drexel to a 9-9 record, finishing fourth in the CAA standings.
The Dragons were ranked 5th out of 7 teams in the 2019 CAA Field Hockey Preseason Poll, as determined by a vote of the conference's seven head coaches.
Drexel only won two of its games away from home last season, so the Hoosiers’ home field advantage could come into play in this early season matchup.
IU’s home opener against Drexel begins at noon on Sunday at the IU Field Hockey Complex.