Iowa soccer prepped for Cy-Hawk battle

Iowa soccer will kick off the Cy-Hawk series with a battle against Iowa State on Thursday.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa Head Coach Dave DiIanni looks on during Iowa’s game against Michigan at The Hawkeye Soccer Complex on Sunday, October 14, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wolverines 1-0.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

The Iowa soccer team will look to continue its perfect season today as it takes on Iowa State at home in the Cy-Hawk Series. 

Last season, the team lost the in-state rivalry to the Cyclones, 2-1.

Despite the loss last season, Iowa didn’t decide to focus on this game until recently.

“We had a great practice [on Wednesday],” Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said. “It was short and sharp and intense. I think that we are very short-minded in terms of our vision. I think now is the time we’re talking about Iowa State versus worrying about it on Sunday.”

The Cy-Hawk rivalry is always intense no matter the sport. Both teams want bragging rights each year. 

Iowa already toppled Northern Iowa on Sunday, giving them a victory over an in-state team. 

Although the Hawkeyes fell to Iowa State last season, the preparation hasn’t changed.

“I think that we are not approaching [Iowa State] any differently,” senior midfielder and captain Isabella Blackman said. “I think that the past is the past, and we all just super excited for [Thursday] and hoping to get that win.”

The team will not allow the result of this game to impact the rest of the season, regardless of the result.

“We have never allowed it to impact the season, to be honest,” DiIanni said. “We lost it last year, and we controlled most of the game, but gave up some set-pieces and still went on to having a decent season.”

As in football, the games are usually tight.

Since Dilanni began coaching at Iowa in 2014, all but one game has been decided by one goal.

“Every game that we’ll play against Iowa State is close; they’re well-coached,” DiIanni said. “Even if one team is a bit more talented than the other, the game ends up being very close because of the nature of the rivalry and how intense it is.

“It’s going to come down to production, and, overall, it’s going be one player making a play to be able to push their team forward.”

Iowa plans to use its advantages against Iowa State. With a 2-0-0 record heading into the contest, the Hawkeyes have a sense of their strengths.

RELATED: Iowa soccer’s Graves aiming for continued improvement in final season

“We’re hoping to attack their midfield, because I think we might be a little stronger in there and then get some vertical balls up top and hopefully score early,” senior forward Kaleigh Haus said.

The past two games for the Hawkeyes have been impressive, as they have outscored their opponents, 8-1, with their victories coming against Western Michigan and Northern Iowa. 

Defeating two in-state opponents in the same week would mean a lot for the team.

“I think it really has to do with what we did in the offseason,” Haus said. “I mean, we scored something like 27 goals during spring, and I think that just carried over into our new season. It’s been building up over the year.” 

Iowa soccer also owns some responsibility with the game on the horizon — it will be the first game of the Cy-Hawk series in any sport.

And each year, the rivalry starts anew with the fierce fire and passion the teams show.

“Honestly, [this game] means everything,” Blackman said. “My whole life I’ve been a Hawkeye. I’m a third-generation student-athlete here, so I’ve been born and raised to be against Iowa State. So, [Thursday’s] game makes me really excited, and I know the team is excited, as well.”