The remainder of the Indiana field hockey schedule consists mostly of Big Ten opponents to close out the 2022 season. As the Hoosiers head into the heart of the season, they clash against two ranked opponents to open up Big Ten action at home — No. 21 Rutgers University and No. 6 Penn State.
It has been a strong start to the season for this Hoosiers squad, embarking on a 7-4 record, while continuing to climb up the win column. While the Hoosiers have a strong record thus far, playing ranked opponents has been their kryptonite.
This season, Indiana is 0-3 against ranked opponents, and has only scored a single goal in those three matches. Offensively, more is to be desired, especially this weekend. However, while the Hoosiers have struggled against higher caliber opponents, their defense has stayed true. In their past three matches alone, the Hoosiers have given up just one goal per game.
On the season, Indiana’s defense is the driving force, only allowing 1.6 goals per game. Indiana’s defensive play, paired with a premier goalkeeper in sophomore Arabella Loveridge is a formula for success. The goalkeeper has had a breakout season thus far, totaling three clean sheets and 52 total saves on the year.
While Indiana’s defense has been productive, the offense will have to keep up with the rest of the Big Ten. In total, the Hoosiers are outmatched in total shots, shots on goal and shots per game in comparison to their opponents. The offense isn’t necessarily a struggle point for Indiana, just a point for improvement.
This weekend poses the most difficult weekend yet for Indiana, as they seek their first Big Ten win. On Friday, the Hoosiers face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, a team Indiana has not had recent success against. Historically, the Hoosiers are 2-11 against Rutgers, and are 2-4 against Rutgers at home.
Rutgers’ schedule has been difficult this season, having already faced seven ranked opponents in ten matches. Rutgers is 4-3 against ranked opponents this season. On the road this season Rutgers is undefeated, with a 2-0 record when away. With Rutgers' winning record against ranked opponents, Indiana might have trouble keeping up with the Scarlet Knights.
After Friday night's matchup against Rutgers, the Hoosiers will host No. 6 Penn State on Sunday afternoon. The Nittany Lions are one of the most dominant programs in the nation, with an 8-1 record and a seven-game winning streak.
Penn State defense has pitched three straight shutouts against Cornell, Michigan State and Ohio State. Statistically, Penn State has scored 27 goals, and only given up 10 goals throughout the entire season. In order for Indiana to take down both Rutgers and Penn State, Indiana’s offense has to be the main focus. Junior forward Jemima Cookson and freshman forward Anna Mozeleski will be crucial in leading the charge for the Hoosiers’ offense.
The Hoosiers are 4-2 at home this season and will have a chance to pick up their first Big Ten home win this weekend.