Indiana field hockey’s season has officially kicked off. Aug. 25-27, the team wasted no time putting itself up against some of the best in the country.
Indiana’s east coast road trip began Aug. 25 in Durham, North Carolina against No. 20 Duke University, when the Hoosiers lost a back-and-forth contest that resulted in a 3-2 loss. It looked like the Hoosiers had tied the game at 3-3, but a goal by redshirt senior back Sydney Keld was called back because of a dragging violation.
The team then travelled to Lynchburg, Virginia, on Aug. 27 to face off against No. 14 Liberty University. The team lost in unfortunate fashion again, as Liberty scored the winning goal in overtime via penalty stroke.
The Hoosiers were able to bounce back Sept. 3-4 at the Theresa Check Invitational, with wins over Saint Francis University (PA) and Miami University (OH). The wins get Indiana to a .500 record at 2-2. Defense was the key for the Hoosiers, as they only allowed one goal in two games. Graduate senior forward Sarah Charley was significant offensively, as the Ohio State transfer finished with a goal in each contest.
The team’s next opponent will be on the road against Ohio University on Sept. 10, who Indiana has beaten the last two years.
Coming up, Indiana travels to play against preseason No. 2 Northwestern on Sept. 15 to begin Big Ten play. The Wildcats were runner-ups in the National Championship last year, and they returned graduate student Peyton Halsley, who was fourth in the Big Ten in goals last year notching 13. However, four out of the team’s top-five point scorers graduated, opening the opportunity for an Indiana upset against an inexperienced team.
Not only could Northwestern be a tough matchup, but the entire conference could provide a challenge — six teams are featured in the preseason top 20, and three Big Ten teams were in last year’s Final Four. Some key home matchups for the season include No. 4 Michigan on Sept. 29, No. 7 Iowa on Oct. 13 and No. 5 Penn State on Oct. 27.
The Hoosiers have a tough schedule, but the leadership of seniors Sydney Keld and Jemima Cookson, who shared the team lead last year with 15 points, should provide experience and firepower for Indiana. Indiana will have its home opener Sept. 24 against James Madison University at Deborah Tobias Field.