Hawkeye soccer looks to break tie with Minnesota

The Hawkeyes hope to take control of their own destiny and fight for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament against Minnesota.

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Hawkeye soccer looks to break tie with Minnesota

Hawkeye junior Hannah Drkulec jumps for the ball during the Iowa and Michigan State match at the UI Soccer Complex on Friday Oct. 12, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans 1-0.

Hawkeye junior Hannah Drkulec jumps for the ball during the Iowa and Michigan State match at the UI Soccer Complex on Friday Oct. 12, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans 1-0.

Nick Rohlman

Hawkeye junior Hannah Drkulec jumps for the ball during the Iowa and Michigan State match at the UI Soccer Complex on Friday Oct. 12, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans 1-0.

Nick Rohlman

Nick Rohlman

Hawkeye junior Hannah Drkulec jumps for the ball during the Iowa and Michigan State match at the UI Soccer Complex on Friday Oct. 12, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans 1-0.

Jess Westendorf, Sports Reporter

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There are only two games left of the regular season for the Iowa soccer team: major Big Ten opponents Minnesota and Northwestern.

Iowa will travel to Minneapolis for the last road trip of the regular season to play the Gophers today at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.

The game will ultimately be the tiebreaker for both teams. Iowa and Minnesota are tied for seventh in the Big Ten; the Big Ten Tournament takes the top eight teams.

“[This game] is what you play the whole year for, to give yourself a chance that these games are actually of value and matter,” head coach Dave DiIanni said.

He likes his approach and would rather his squad focus on the details that have led the team to success in the previous weeks.

The past two weeks have been the team’s best this season. The Hawkeyes recorded two shutout wins over Michigan State and Michigan to extend their winning streak to three matches.

To top it off, senior Morgan Kemerling won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after her stellar performance against the Spartans and the Wolverines.

RELATED: Hawkeye soccer sweeps state of Michigan

“It is really an honor, but our whole backline, really, deserves it,” Kemerling said. “It’s a team collective effort, we defend well as a team, and I am just really proud of our defense as a whole unit.”

Kemerling played a full game against Michigan and led the backline in holding the Wolverines to zero shots on goal.

Now, the goal is to take all of this momentum and success and put it to use against the Gophers. Iowa is 4-12-4 all-time against Minnesota.

But the Hawkeyes will not let that get in the way.

“We are right where we wanted to be,” Kemerling said. “We are controlling our own placement in the tournament right now, and controlling our destiny, and not leaving it up to chance or what other teams are going to do.”

DiIanni and his squad are ready to go the road against a tough Gopher team. Iowa may be 1-6 on the road, but the team is confident.

“We broke the jinx of losing on the road against Nebraska, and we are feeling confident about that,” Diianni said. “But this Minnesota team is good team, and we know that we will have to good things to come back with a win.”

The win against No. 22 Nebraska (2-1) was the first ever against the Huskers in Hawkeye history.

But with two games left, it comes down to which team can follow through, and the Hawkeyes know that it is on them to continue its success.

“At this point, there are no excuses for any of us in this position Northwestern, Minnesota, us, and even Michigan,” DiIanni said. “We are all playing against teams that are playing for the same spot, so at the end of the day, when we clinch a Big Ten Tournament [spot], it’s because we did the job well.”

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