Hawkeye soccer topples Panthers in first in-state bout

Iowa scored 6 goals en route to a dominant victory over an in-state rival.

Iowa+team+members+high+five+each+other+following+a+goal+during+a+match+against+the+University+of+Northern+Iowa+Panthers+on+Sunday%2C+August+25%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Panthers+6-1.+%28Emily+Wangen%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
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Hawkeye soccer topples Panthers in first in-state bout

Iowa team members high five each other following a goal during a match against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on Sunday, August 25, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers 6-1. (Emily Wangen/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa team members high five each other following a goal during a match against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on Sunday, August 25, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers 6-1. (Emily Wangen/The Daily Iowan)

Emily Wangen

Iowa team members high five each other following a goal during a match against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on Sunday, August 25, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers 6-1. (Emily Wangen/The Daily Iowan)

Emily Wangen

Emily Wangen

Iowa team members high five each other following a goal during a match against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on Sunday, August 25, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers 6-1. (Emily Wangen/The Daily Iowan)

Austin Hanson, Sports Reporter

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The combined might of the sunshine, rain, heat, cold, and Northern Iowa Panthers were unable to slow Iowa soccer on Sunday.

The Hawkeyes rattled off a whopping 6 goals for a 6-1 victory over the Panthers, moving their record to 2-0-0. Iowa scored 4 goals alone in the first half, while holding Northern Iowa to 1. The tilted scoreboard would remain that way for the rest of the contest.

Hawkeyes finding the back of the goal included Natalie Winters, Hannah Drkulec, Devin Burns, Skylar Alward, Samantha Tawharu, and Gianna Gourley.

Winters’ goal came on a penalty kick in the 14th minute.

Head coach Dave DiIanni partially attributed the plethora of goals scored to the boost the rainfall gave his players.

“I think they actually like playing in the rain a bit more,” he said. “It cooled them off a little bit. It got a little bit humid, the ball skips a little faster. That was a nice little break there in the first half.”

Hannah Drkulec shared a sentiment similar to that of her coach.

“Yeah, I love [playing in the rain], and honestly, we kind of like the skip on the ball,” Drkulec said. “Sometimes, it’ll catch us off guard, but we love the fast pace… It’s fun to play in the rain.” When asked if rainy conditions lead to more goals, Drkulec jokingly said, “I think that’s pretty fair, I would say so.”

In addition to the boost from the rain, the soccer team also received an attendance boost. At halftime, all Iowa athletic departments were honored. Legions of Iowa student-athletes turned out to be honored and to support Iowa’s soccer program. Specific honorees included wrestler Spencer Lee, football player T.J. Hockenson, and golfer Alex Schaake.

Whether it was the rain or another factor that led to Iowa’s success, there was no doubt Sunday was Iowa’s day.

The Hawkeyes led the game wire-to-wire, never going more than seventeen minutes without scoring a goal. The victory over Northern Iowa could give the Hawkeyes momentum when another in-state rival comes to town on Thursday, DiIanni said.

“We’ve got two back-to-back, we got the Panthers here [Sunday] and Iowa State on Thursday,” he said. “For us, the Hawkeyes, we want to try to be the best in the state and to do that, you have to play the in-state rivals, and you’ve got to beat them.”

Senior midfielder Natalie Winters sees the benefit of the added intensity as well.

“It’s an in-state rivalry and we wanted to come out with a lot of competitiveness and put every chance away we got, so that’s what we did,” she said.

After their victory, the Hawkeyes kept their undefeated season going and completed the first leg of in-state rivalry week. Iowa will have a chance to take its place as the champions of the state on Thursday when Iowa State blow into Iowa City for a primetime matchup at 7:00 p.m.

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