This weekend, Indiana field hockey will look to extend its five-game win streak against its first Big Ten opponent on the road. The weekend doubleheader begins against No. 5 Iowa at 5 p.m. Friday in Iowa City, Iowa before the team travels home to face Longwood University at 11 a.m. Sunday.
The Hoosiers, standing at a 5-2 record, have had a successful start to the season, coming from behind to win three times this season. The ability to come back in games combined with the Hoosiers’ 2-1 record in overtime finishes means they have the experience to rally no matter the score.
Iowa comes into this match at 5-1 overall, undefeated at home and on a four-game win streak. Its only loss came in a 3-2 overtime thriller against No. 2 University of North Carolina.
So far this season, Iowa’s wins have come against a flurry of impressive opponents. Its first ranked win was a 2-1 double overtime finish against No. 20 Wake Forest University on Aug. 26. Later, on Sept. 11, Iowa beat No. 22 University of Massachusetts in a 2-0 shutout for their second ranked win.
[Related: Indiana field hockey rolls to a five-game win streak, longest since 2014]
Coming into Friday night’s matchup, the Hawkeyes have only allowed five goals, totaled three shutouts and have outscored their opponents 18-5 this season. However, the Hoosiers have been just as dominant, outscoring their opponents by a similar 19-7 margin.
Since Iowa has one of the best — if not the best — defenses in the country, Indiana will have to find a way to take several shots on goal early and often to make Iowa's defensive line uncomfortable.
To lead the offensive attack and generate those shots, Indiana will rely on junior forward Jemima Cookson and freshman forward Anna Mozeleski, who lead the team in goals this season.
Before Friday’s game, Indiana head coach Kayla Bashore said the team has been emphasizing improving on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think working on our defensive structure has been a focal point for us and it always has been,” Bashore said
Following the team’s recent win streak, Bashore praised her team's defensive abilities as a direct reason for Indiana’s recent success.
“To add to that defensive side, we’re able to have more attacking ability out of that and so what we’re seeing now is the ability to score more goals, which is helping us win games,” Bashore said.
While Indiana has shown an ability to come back in games, starting hot against a team of Iowa's caliber will be critical. If Indiana can open up the scoring on the road, it will gain an early edge and be able to control the pace of the game.
To gain that early advantage, the Hoosiers must find a way to attack the Hawkeye defense. If the Hoosiers can limit turnovers, capitalize on penalty corners and find their playmakers, they will have a chance to score on the Hawkeye defense that has forced two shutouts in its last three games — all of which were wins.
To finish the weekend, Indiana returns home for a Sunday morning matchup against Longwood at Deborah Tobias Field.
The Lancers are currently 2-3 overall but hold a 2-1 road record, having won its last match 1-0 against Davidson College. A Big South Conference member, the Lancers will be one of the last non-conference opponent the Hoosiers face for the rest of the year.
Longwood starts its weekend slate Friday in Muncie, Indiana against Ball State University, where it will be looking to get back to even at a 3-3 record before facing Indiana on Sunday.
Both of the Hoosiers’ games this weekend will be broadcast on BTN+.