The IU field hockey team traveled to East Lansing to open up Big Ten play against No. 23 Michigan State on Friday as the only unranked team in the conference.
Then Hailey Couch walked onto Ralph Young Field.
The sophomore forward from Easton, Pennsylvania,was the best player on the field Friday, netting three goals in the first 27 minutes. After Couch’s first goal, the Spartans found an equalizer from freshman defender Nienke Bloemsaat, Michigan State’s top goal scorer, just three minutes later.
Couch got through the Spartan defense twice more in a two-minute span, and IU suddenly had raced out to a 3-1 first-half lead against the No. 23 team in the country.
After the halftime break, it was up to the Hoosier defense to hold on and escape with the lead. A goal from the woman who ended IU’s 2018 season, Michigan State's junior forward Meredith Ross, cut the Hoosiers’ lead to one score with 26 minutes left in the match.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, senior captain Kelsey Giese delivered the dagger to push the score to 4-2. IU would use that momentum to cruise to a victory.
IU’s junior goalkeeper Sachi Ananias held firm with four second-half saves. She ended the game with six total saves on 15 Michigan State shots.
All four of IU’s goals came off of penalty corners, of which they drew eight, including seven in the first half. The victory marked IU’s first win over a ranked squad since Sept. 1, 2017, when it took down No. 15 Wake Forest, 1-0.
IU moves to 4-3 on the year, the first time it has been over .500 this season. The win also marks IU head coach Kayla Bashore’s first win in the Big Ten conference and her first win against a ranked opponent.
Couch recorded IU’s first hat trick since senior midfielder and captain Ciara Girouard scored three goals against Villanova on Sept. 4, 2017. She now leads the Hoosiers in goals this season with five total.
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