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IU field hockey looks to bounce back with weekend slate


Now-sophomore forward Hailey Couch keeps the ball away from Michigan State then-senior back Baily Higgins Oct. 5, 2018, at the IU Field Hockey Complex. IU will play against Penn State on Oct. 4 at home. Anna Tiplick

The IU field hockey team is taking on Penn State and Kent State University this weekend as it looks to bounce back from a tough weekend against strong competition. The Hoosiers are coming off back-to-back losses for the first time this season, to Michigan and Ohio State. 

Penn State comes in at 1-7, after opening the season as the No. 9 team in the country. The Nittany Lions’ record is misleading, as they have played five ranked teams in their seven losses, including three top-five teams: Duke University, Maryland and Princeton University. 

Penn State is still very capable, as evidenced by its most recent game, an 8-2 victory over Villanova University for its first win of the year. Sophomore defender Anna Simon leads the team with four goals. She also has 21 shots on goal, which is more than double anyone else for the Nittany Lions. 

Penn State’s weakness is defense, as it has conceded 47 corners on the season. Its starting goalkeeper, redshirt freshman Brie Barraco, has allowed 22 goals in eight starts — almost three goals per game. 

The Hoosiers’ offense, which was stymied by the stout goalkeeping of Michigan and Ohio State, will have the opportunity to bounce back and even their conference record on Friday against a relatively soft Penn State defense.

Kent State comes to Indiana on a road trip this weekend with its record sitting at 5-5. After a Mid-Ameican Conference matchup in Muncie, Indiana, against Ball State University, the team will south Sunday to take on IU. 

The Golden Flashes bring a potent attack to Bloomington, spearheaded by junior midfielder Clara Rodriguez Seto, who has a MAC-leading six goals on the year, including a game winner against No. 24 University of Maine. 

Along with Seto, Kent State also has the conference’s leader in assists, senior forward Laila Richter, who has nine in 10 games. Richter also leads the Golden Flashes in shots on goal with 17. 

The Hoosiers come in at 4-5, and 1-2 in the conference. After a three-game stretch on the road, where they outscored their opponents a combined 7-5, they returned home to play last weekend. IU was outscored on its home turf 11-2. 

To return to form, IU will have to improve its offensive production by finding its playmakers: sophomore forward Hailey Couch and senior midfielder Kelsey Giese. IU head coach Kayla Bashore has spoken on the team’s playmaking ability multiple times this season. If the Hoosiers want to have a shot at turning around a once-promising season, it will have to be at the hands of those two players. 

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