This weekend, IU will travel to St. Louis to take on Saint Louis University and Fairfield University. IU is looking to get its first wins away from Bloomington and improve upon its 2-2 season record. Here are three things to look forward to this weekend for the Hoosiers.
The Stags are for real.
Fairfield is already building up a solid resume in the NCAA tournament race, because they already have a signature win this season. The team took down No. 13 Boston College, an Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse, with tournament aspirations of its own.
The coaches of the Northeast Conference picked the Stags to win the conference. This could be because Fairfield returns many key pieces from last season, including its top goalscorer junior forward Emma Matlach.
Matlatch found the back of the net 12 times and added seven assists last season. This season, she has only played 26 minutes and has not scored, but the threat is still there for the Stags.
Also returning is goalkeeper Zoe Rosen, who was seventh in save percentage in all of Division I field hockey with a .769 percentage last season. This season, she has continued to be an elite last line of defense for her team, registering 14 saves on 35 shots in the aforementioned game against Boston College. She has 21 total saves this season, and her save percentage is .778 percent for this year.
The Billikens? Not so much.
Saint Louis has struggled to find a rhythm early this season, currently sitting at 0-4. The Billikens have not scored a goal since a 4-1 loss against Colgate in their opener Aug. 31.
Since that game, Saint Louis has given up nine goals and gone scoreless in three games. Ball State, who IU took down Sunday 2-1, defeated Saint Louis 3-0 two days before its game against IU.
IU has defeated Saint Louis nine of the last ten times they have played, with its only defeat against them being in 2017. This slow start for the Billikens could be because their team currently has no seniors and they are missing that leadership early on this season.
This weekend is key for the Hoosiers.
IU is coming into the weekend 2-2, and there are still many unknowns for the team.
No individual has stepped up and taken control in terms of scoring and distributing the ball for IU, and it has caused issues on the offensive side of the ball. The Hoosiers have fallen behind in all four of their games so far, and with the gauntlet of the Big Ten conference season looming large, the Hoosiers still have to figure out who their go-to players are.
Seven different players have scored on IU’s eight total goals, with sophomore Mary Kate Kesler leading the way with two total. IU needs a good weekend to lead into conference play and boost confidence heading into East Lansing.