Soccer heads to North Carolina for weekend set

After starting their season with four straight wins, the soccer team goes on the road for the first time this season against North Carolina State and North Carolina-Greensboro.

Iowa+defender+Hannah+Drkulec+navigates+the+field+during+a+women%27s+soccer+match+between+Iowa+and+Western+Michigan+on+Thursday%2C+August+22%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Broncos%2C+2-0.+%28Shivansh+Ahuja%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa defender Hannah Drkulec navigates the field during a women's soccer match between Iowa and Western Michigan on Thursday, August 22, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Broncos, 2-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

After four straight wins at home to start the season, the Iowa soccer team heads to North Carolina for its first road trip of the season.

The Hawkeyes face off against North Carolina State at 6 p.m., which is ranked 14th in the nation in the United Soccer Poll. They will also play at noon on Sunday against North Carolina-Greensboro.

This road trip will show how much this team has improved on the road since their 1-7 away record last season.

“We have an awful lot of seniors and an incredible amount of sophomores that have played a lot of college games,” head coach Dave DiIanni said. “Just knowing when to go to bed, how to prepare your body and your mind, and just having an understanding of the non controllables we’re going to walk into, especially against good teams. So I think the experience will be one and the level of play we’re at now will help our kids have a little bit more confidence going on the road.”

The way the athletes are preparing brings a change from in years past, something that can help them improve both individually and as a team in road contests.

“I think we’re coming in with a different mindset this year,” said captain Hannah Drkulec, a senior defender. “We know that last year our road record wasn’t as great as our home one, but we’re going to go in and know that we’re to bring it to other teams on their field like we bring it to other teams on our own.”

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The team will get its biggest test of the year today as they play against a ranked North Carolina State team. 

Knowing that challenge and being able to put the rankings behind them goes back to a strong mindset, being able to take on a strong opponent, and also channeling that excitement into productive play on the field. 

“It’s going to challenge us because of how physical and talented they are,” senior forward Devin Burns said. “With us going into this, we can win if we play our best game, and it’s really important for us to look at them as another team that we need to get points for, to get three points and come out with a win.”

North Carolina State, win or lose, gives Iowa a chance to gauge their playing style against tough opponents before even getting to the heart of its season, Big Ten play. 

“What a great test North Carolina State is going be for us,” DiIanni said. “They are going to be one of the best teams that we will have faced in the last five, six years that I’ve been here. They’re super athletic, cutting edge in the attack, and put you under a great deal of pressure when you get balls up in bad places on the field.”

Heading into this road trip, the team will look to continue strength of being good on the attack and will look to improve on its weaknesses defensively. The team is averaging 3.5 goals a game while giving up 1.25 goals a game.

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