Indiana Daily Student

Indiana field hockey closes out season with crucial game at Northwestern

<p>Sophomore midfielder Anna Gwiazdzinski runs with the ball during a match against Michigan State University on Oct. 15, 2021, at the IU Field Hockey Complex. Indiana will face No. 6 Northwestern on Oct. 31, 2021, in Evanston, Illinois.</p>

Sophomore midfielder Anna Gwiazdzinski runs with the ball during a match against Michigan State University on Oct. 15, 2021, at the IU Field Hockey Complex. Indiana will face No. 6 Northwestern on Oct. 31, 2021, in Evanston, Illinois.

Indiana field hockey will play its last match of the regular season against No. 6 Northwestern at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lakeside Field.

The Hoosiers secured their first two-game win streak since the first two games of the year with wins over Saint Louis University and Ohio University last week.

Over the past four games, the Hoosiers have accumulated a total of 18 goals. The most they’ve scored over any four-game stretch this season.

Sophomore forward Jemima Cookson said the team’s ability to work cohesively has led to its recent success on the offensive end. 

“I think all the lines supporting each other and having that individual confidence to go forward with the ball and know your teammates are supporting you,” Cookson said.

The Hoosiers seem to have found their groove late in the season. They won four out of their last six games, including two shutout wins. Freshman midfielder Kira Curland has led the way for the Hoosiers as of late and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Tuesday.

Among freshmen in the Big Ten, Curland is tied for first in goals with seven, tied for first in assists with six and is first in total points with 20.

“She is a very clever player,” Cookson said. “I think Kira is an incredible player, and she has come in and had a really great impact on the team.”

Indiana eclipsed double-digit wins in the regular season for the first time since 2012 with its win over Ohio last week.

Indiana also broke a program record with seven shutouts this season. The team’s 5-0 win over Michigan State on Oct. 15 was its biggest conference win in program history.

“We just have been very determined,” Cookson said. “We wanted to work hard and showed up every training session to better ourselves and wanting the best for this program.”

Before the Hoosiers begin Big Ten Tournament play Nov. 4, one last foe remains in their way: the Northwestern Wildcats. 

The Wildcats come into this game with a 12-4 record, which includes a five-game win streak earlier in the season.

The Hoosiers defense will be challenged, as the Wildcats are ranked second in the country in both assists per game and goals per game.

Indiana is no stranger to facing top-ranked opponents and will look to use its experience to end the season on a high note.

“We need to make sure that we play our game,” Cookson said. “We have shown that in the last couple of weekends. If we play our game and play with really, really strong defense, I think that will put us in a good place for our game this weekend.”

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