The last time the IU field hockey team traveled north Michigan, the team was 3-3, beginning the gauntlet of its conference schedule.
As an underdog, IU traveled to East Lansing and took down a ranked Michigan State team, moving them to 4-3 and 1-0 in the conference. It was the team’s first win to open the conference schedule since 2015, and its first ranked win since 2017. Sophomore forward Hailey Couch had a career day, scoring a hat trick in a 4-2 win.
Since this positive start, the train has gone off the rails.
Now 34 days later, the Hoosiers sit at a disappointing 4-11 with a 1-6 record in the conference. The Hoosiers are losers of eight straight matches and are currently in a position where they won’t make the Big Ten Tournament, effectively making their final match versus Northwestern next week a must-win game.
Before the Hoosiers travel to Evanston with their season on the line, they travel back to Michigan to take on Central Michigan University.
Central Michigan has lost 13 straight matches dating back to Sept. 2, including three losses to Big Ten schools by a combined score of 25-0. Central Michigan’s weakness is its defense. The team has conceded more than four goals and almost nine corners per game. The Chippewas only average seven shots per game, compared to the 22 shots they concede on average every contest.
Freshman midfielder Alice O’Hagan leads the Chippewas with six goals, and junior midfielder Samantha Glapinski has five goals, forming a dangerous duo up front for Central Michigan. They have contributed 11 of the team’s 18 total goals on the season.
Outside of those two, Central Michigan does not have another player with more than two goals this season. If IU can limit the opportunities of O’Hagan and Glapinski, it will give itself an opportunity to top last season’s win total on Friday.
The Hoosiers could use the momentum of a big win in a hostile environment with their season on the line next week. However, if IU is to save the sinking ship that is its season, it starts Friday in a winnable game against Central Michigan.
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Its plan was announced Wednesday afternoon.
IU is scheduled to open its season against Wisconsin on Sept. 4.
Workouts began June 15 but were paused July 17.