The Daily Iowan

Freshmen help Iowa soccer navigate through Hawkeye Invitational

The youth of Iowa’s soccer team showed promise at the Hawkeye Invitational.

Players+look+on+as+Iowa+midfielder+Josie+Durr%E2%80%99s+shot+finds+the+back+of+the+net+during+Iowa%E2%80%99s+game+against+Central+Michigan+on+Aug.+31+at+the+Iowa+Soccer+Complex.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Chippewas%2C+3-1.
Players look on as Iowa midfielder Josie Durr’s shot finds the back of the net during Iowa’s game against Central Michigan on Aug. 31 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The Hawkeyes defeated the Chippewas, 3-1.

Players look on as Iowa midfielder Josie Durr’s shot finds the back of the net during Iowa’s game against Central Michigan on Aug. 31 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The Hawkeyes defeated the Chippewas, 3-1.

Nick Rohlman

Nick Rohlman

Players look on as Iowa midfielder Josie Durr’s shot finds the back of the net during Iowa’s game against Central Michigan on Aug. 31 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The Hawkeyes defeated the Chippewas, 3-1.

James Geerdes, Sports Reporter

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With senior leader and forward Devin Burns out with an injury, Iowa soccer’s goal-scoring ability had seemingly taken a hit. But Hawkeye fans have found hope among the youngest faces on the pitch.

The newest additions to Iowa’s soccer team have made impressive impacts on the field — especially in the Hawkeye Invitational, in which Iowa beat Central Michigan, 3-1, and took down VCU, 2-0.

Redshirt freshman forward Josie Durr found the back of the net during her first start for the Black and Gold against Central Michigan on Aug. 31. Durr has seen solid minutes on the pitch throughout the young season, but her effect this past weekend was especially noticeable.

“It was just crazy, honestly,” Durr said. “I didn’t really expect the ball to bounce off my foot and go in. It was just insane to get a goal in my first start.”

While Iowa did go on to win, 3-1, Durr’s goal put the Hawkeyes up, 2-1, completing a comeback after being down a goal.

Two days later, Durr notched her second goal as a Hawkeye in just her second start. She broke open a 0-0 tie against VCU on Sunday, guiding a header into the goal following a cross from freshman Riley Whitaker in the 50th minute. Durr only played 57 minutes in the weekend’s second contest but led the team with 3 shots, 2 of which were on target.

Durr’s efforts sparked another freshman into action. Coming off the bench, Olivia Hellweg also scored on a cross. That cross came from another freshman, Bianca Acuario.

Following the weekend’s two games, Durr was named to the Hawkeye Invitational All-Tournament Team alongside Hawkeyes Morgan Kemerling, Natalie Winters, and Claire Graves.

“[The freshmen] have come in pretty smoothly,” junior captain Kaleigh Haus said. “Sara [Wheaton’s] been a big one — she’s played a lot of minutes, and she just started, but it feels like she’s been here a long time.”

Wheaton started the first five games and is third on the team in minutes played with 461 of the first 470. She also leads the team in assists with 2.

The quick adjustment to the college level, head coach Dave DiIanni said, comes from the high-level club teams the athletes competed on prior to their college careers.

“There aren’t many environments that are overwhelming for them,” he said.

Iowa will play rival Iowa State on Friday in perhaps the most high-tension game of the season yet. The freshman playmakers have come in acclimated to the pressure.

“Playing at that high level, playing the best teams in the country at a high pace gave me a sense of what it would be like playing here — playing with the top girls in the nation,” Wheaton said. “I think it 100 percent helped.”

Iowa is still yet to reach its potential. Burns, Iowa’s leading scorer in 2017, is set to make her return against Iowa State. Olivia Fiegel, Iowa’s second-leading scorer in 2017, played her first nine minutes against VCU, and she is slated to start taking on more responsibilities against Iowa State as well.

“The future’s bright,” DiIanni said. “We’re just incredibly young right now without a ton of senior leadership on the field.”

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About the Contributors
James Geerdes, Sports Reporter

James “Jim” Geerdes is a sports reporter, digital producer, and designer. He is currently  a sophomore. He spent his freshman year covering wresting,...

Nick Rohlman, Photo Editor

Nick Rohlman is one of the photo editors at the DI. In addition to his experience as a photojournalist, he has a background in commercial photography and...

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