The Indiana field hockey team leaves behind a five game road trip and heads home to play a pair of Michigan teams. Indiana hosts Michigan State on Friday and hopes to play spoiler Sunday against No. 2 Michigan.
Coming off their second ranked win of the season against No. 16 Ohio State, Indiana looks to keep the momentum rolling into the weekend.
Freshman forward Kayla Kiwak said she believes teams are going to have to take notice of this Hoosier team.
“Our confidence level boosted,” Kiwak said. “We proved to ourselves and to the rest of the conference that we can compete in the Big Ten and that we are just as good as any team in the conference.”
The Hoosiers will have to prove that claim first against a 7-3 Spartan squad Friday.
The two Michigan teams traveling into Bloomington have no shortage of offensive success. Both teams rank in the top 10 for goals per game in the country.
Containing a high powered offense can be a tough thing to do, but Kiwak said it's all about controlling what they can.
“Many teams have said that we have a tough defense,” Kiwak said. “If they communicate with each other and work as a unit, we’ll be successful in that aspect of the game.”
The defense will have to succeed against a Michigan State team that has proven to be road warriors with a 3-1 record on the road, including wins over Miami University and Kent State University.
After the contest against the Spartans, the Hoosiers will play the undefeated Wolverines. Michigan is 11-0 in the 2021 season, including wins over No. 3 University of Louisville and an overtime win over No. 6 Northwestern.
The Wolverines are top ten in every single offensive statistical category in the country, including assists per game, goals per game and penalty corners per game.
The Hoosiers defense will be under the spotlight all weekend, and Kiwak said her team can pull off another upset as long as they play their standard type of field hockey.
The 2021 season has been a year of major improvement for the Hoosiers. They have won six more games than last year and have two more ranked wins then they have had in the last four years.
Kiwak said he credits those accomplishments this season to the togetherness of the team that has allowed them to play with confidence.
“It’s our overall team dynamic,” Kiwak said. “There was a big class coming in, and we definitely clicked better. Because we click more now, we have more confidence and you can see that on the field.”