Offense Is Key As Hoosiers Are Off to the Best Start in School History
Sept. 14, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Last year the IU women's soccer team lost five consecutive games by a score of 1-0 and a sixth game by a score of 2-1.
This year the Hoosiers won their first six games, which is the best start in school history, and scoring a combined 13 goals. Although they lost at St. John's on Sunday, Indiana still looks to be a strong team as the season moves forward.
The recent success landed the team a No. 25 ranking in last week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top 25 poll.
Sophomore forward Devon Beach said she is excited about the ranking, but feels her team still has a lot of work to do to accomplish their goals.
"I think we definitely deserve it, but we still need to prove ourselves," she said.
Much of the success this year has been attributed to improvements on offense.
Beach has been a driving force for the offense this year and earned recognition last week from the Big Ten as Co-Offensive Player of the Week after she scored a goal and assisted on the Hoosiers game-winning goal against No. 6 Florida.
Junior forward Leigh Anne Cummings also knows a little something about offense as she scored the game-winner against the Gators.
Cummings said the emphasis on offense started during spring training.
"Our whole spring season the focus was on finishing rather then just shooting," Cummings said. "I think that's where most of our success for goals is coming from. Instead of just shooting we are looking to place it in the right spot."
IU coach Mick Lyon said he has always emphasized defense, but switched to a more aggressive and attack-oriented formation this year. The new formation utilizes more players being put into stronger positions to score.
Sophomore Carly Samp is another player having a positive impact on the offensive side. Samp scored the only goal in the Hoosiers Aug. 30 win over Central Michigan.
Samp said everyone is working well together, which has produced a balanced attack.
"We have developed into a really good offensive team," she said. "The defense is still there so it's working well together."
Beach said with 22 returning players this year, the team chemistry is improving and translating into better play on the field.
"I think its been great that since we didn't really loose anyone from last year that we are all so tight and it's the same team basically," she said. "We all know how each other plays."
Although last year's 8-10-1 record was a little bit of a disappointment for the Hoosiers, the year prior saw the team advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Cummings was just a freshman, but played in all 23 games on the NCAA tournament team. She said it would mean a lot to get back there this year.
"It was such a great experience the first time, especially when you're a freshman," Cummings said. "I think this team is a lot better then the team freshman year and I think we can definitely do it."
Lyon said he believes his current team compares well to the 2007 squad, but added there is still a long way to go.
"Player for player we are probably stronger, but we haven't won anything yet," he said. "Certainly we have the potential to do very well."
No. 12/25 Indiana returns home this week for a pair of games, starting with a 7:30 p.m. start against Butler on Wednesday at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Admission is free to all IU Women's Soccer games this year.
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