IU women’s soccer is coming off their second and highest scoring win of the season, a 5-0 shutout of Morehead State University on Sunday.
The Hoosiers (2-3-0) almost completely dominated game play and possession of the ball, finishing the match with a 26-0 shot advantage. IU ran its offensive and defensive schemes to a tee and got the result they desperately needed after a couple of close losses.
IU’s first opportunity to build off the positive momentum from Sunday will be at the University of Tennessee at Martin on Thursday evening. Here are three things to know about the upcoming matchup between the Skyhawks and Hoosiers.
Can the road woes stop?
IU has played two of its first five games on the road, and after this week’s trips to the University of Kentucky and UT Martin, will have played only two of seven games at home before conference play begins.
So far, the only two wins this season have been at home, where the Hoosiers have also scored six of their seven goals as a team. IU has been shut out twice on the road, and the lone goal came against Murray State in the 50th minute of that matchup on Aug. 30.
The other two road matchups were against the University of North Carolina, who remain the No. 1 team in the country, and a University of Louisville squad that IU head coach Erwin van Bennekom believed was the best version of a Louisville team that he had seen in the last five years.
IU will need a breakthrough on the road against UTMartin, who itself hasn’t lost at home either.
Defense doing its job just enough
Excluding the UNC opener, the offensive and defensive stats favor the Hoosiers heavily. In the Hoosiers' four other games, they have outscored their opponents 7-3 and secured two shutouts in the process.
Their loss to Louisville was only by one goal, and IU did not surrender the goal until the 78th minute. And at that the goal came on a penalty kick. Their loss to Murray State was another close match with the game tied at 1-1 until the 82nd minute.
Looking at the raw numbers this season, the Hoosiers now have more goals scored than allowed (a narrow 7-6 margin thanks to their 5- goal outburst Sunday) and are still getting a higher percentage of shots on net than their opponents.
Defense helped create offense Sunday for the Hoosiers, and they will need that defense again for the beginning of their road trip.
Skyhawks on the hunt
There is still a long way to go for both these teams that are very much in the early portion of their seasons. But for the Skyhawks, sitting at 2-2-2 to start the year may be a little beneath their expectations.
Last year’s Ohio Valley Conference champions, UT Martin set a school record with 15 wins back in 2018. It returns 14 players from last year’s team to go along with eight new additions in a quest to repeat.
Part of the slow start is due to the loss of five OVC All Conference players, but All OVC junior goalkeeper Erica Myers and senior forward Nicole Collins will try to provide a steadying hand, while redshirt sophomore forward Jill Hildreth has carried the load with four goals already this season.
Nearing conference play of their own, expect the Skyhawks to come out motivated to get back to their winning ways in time for another shot at the OVC crown.
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