The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Crucial night opens for Iowa soccer ahead of Big Ten tournament

Iowa soccer has spent the entire season fighting for a chance to play in the Big Ten Tournament, and tonight, that goal will be achieved or missed.
Paxton Corey
Iowa Defender Leah Moss challenges Chloe Knudtson along the touch line at the Iowa Soccer Complex in Iowa City on Saturday, October 21, 2017. The Hawkeyes fell to the Badgers 3-0. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)

It’s been a season almost as bumpy as America’s current political climate for the Iowa soccer team.

It has been terrific at times (as it played against previously ranked Rutgers), and it has played way under its potential (like getting blown out against Wisconsin on (Oct. 21).

The Hawkeyes have no choice but to be solid in their final game against Illinois if they want any chance at continuing their season.

The loss to Wisconsin means Iowa no longer controls its own destiny; it needs several things to go its way in order to make the Big Ten Tournament.

As the rankings sit now, Iowa is in 10th place with 11 points, needing to jump two spots to secure a spot in the tournament.

Michigan is the team directly above Iowa with 12 points. Purdue and Nebraska sit above Michigan, each with 14 points. Luckily for Iowa, it holds the tiebreakers over all three teams, which gives it a fighting chance.

In order to make the tournament, the Hawkeyes need to first and foremost win their game against Illinois, then hope that Michigan either draws or loses and either Purdue or Nebraska lose.

Iowa can also make it in with a win and losses by both Purdue and Nebraska. If Nebraska and Purdue both lose and Michigan ties or loses its game, the Hawkeyes would actually end up with the seventh seed.

Here’s a look at the games that will affect Iowa tonight.

Iowa at Illinois

Obviously, the most important game is the one Iowa will play, and the Hawkeyes couldn’t have asked for a better opponent.

The Illini are second to last in the Big Ten and have lost their last three games by a combined score of 8-0, so it shouldn’t be a tough task for Iowa to beat them.

But of Iowa’s five Big Ten losses, two of them have come on the road to teams currently behind them in the Big Ten standings.

Michigan at Rutgers

With their tournament hopes on the line, Michigan will make the trip to New Jersey to take on Rutgers. With Iowa needing a loss or draw out of Michigan, Rutgers is the exact team Hawkeye fans could have hoped Michigan would face.

In 17 games this season, Rutgers has either won or tied in 15 of those, and it has given up just 5 goals all season. Expect more of the same tonight.

Maryland at Purdue

As much as Iowa fans should love Michigan’s matchup, they should fear the sloppiness of Purdue’s opponent.

The Hawkeyes need the Terrapins to win, which is something they’ve proved to be consistently bad at this season, winning only seven games, with just one of those being against a Big Ten opponent.

One positive note would be that Purdue has struggled down the stretch; it has gone 0-4-1 in its past five games.

Minnesota at Nebraska

Nebraska has had a pretty successful season despite having a tough time winning; it has the most draws in the Big Ten with five.

That’s not good for Iowa; however, Nebraska’s opponent remains a bright spot. Minnesota has been stellar this season, even handing Rutgers one of its two losses on the season.

By no means is this treasure map to the Big Ten Tournament an easy one, but a glimmer of hope still shines on the Hawkeye season.

RELATED: Soccer wins big against Wisconsin

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Jordan Zuniga
Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @j_zuni Jordan Zuniga is a sports reporter at The Daily Iowan covering football. This is Zuniga's second year with the DI where he has covered a variety of sports such as: women's basketball, golf, women's soccer, baseball, track and field, softball, and men's basketball.