Iowa soccer looks to continue winning streak at home

The Iowa soccer team returns home after sweeping its last road trip of the season with a goal to keep their undefeated season going.

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Iowa soccer looks to continue winning streak at home

Iowa forward Gianna Gourley fights for possession during Iowa's match against Illinois State on Sunday, September 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Red Birds 4-3.

Iowa forward Gianna Gourley fights for possession during Iowa's match against Illinois State on Sunday, September 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Red Birds 4-3.

Megan Nagorzanski

Iowa forward Gianna Gourley fights for possession during Iowa's match against Illinois State on Sunday, September 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Red Birds 4-3.

Megan Nagorzanski

Megan Nagorzanski

Iowa forward Gianna Gourley fights for possession during Iowa's match against Illinois State on Sunday, September 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Red Birds 4-3.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

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After going 2-0 on its first road trip of the season, the Iowa soccer team returns home today at 7 p.m. to face the Northern Colorado Bears. 

The Hawkeyes begin their season 6-0 for the first time since 2013, which happens to be the last time they made the NCAA Tournament. This performance has gained national recognition, as the team has received votes in the United Soccer Coaches Top-25 rankings. 

Individual players have also received acclamation for their performances. Senior defender and captain Hannah Drkulec has won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice this season, including this past week, and senior goalkeeper Claire Graves won Big Ten Co-Goalkeeper of the Week. 

Head coach Dave DiIanni credits this start to three features the team has: many seniors playing with a sense of urgency who are invested in the team’ culture, players scoring goals by creating chances to do so, and the team having depth off the bench. 

“Our team is very difficult to break down,” DiIanni said. “That’s been probably the key to success for us defensively is we’re able to press a little higher, and we’re little bit deeper as a group.” 

Drkulec said the team learns from every game and its mistakes. 

Drkulec added that the team’s confidence is at s high right now, especially after defeating No. 14/16 North Carolina State on its last road trip. 

RELATED: Iowa soccer freshman Gianna Gourley makes quick impact

“Especially just knowing that we’re 6-0 right now, it’s such a good feeling,” Drkulec said. “It’s like, we can do this, we can take these teams on.”

The team now has two games before Big Ten play starts. Including this game against the Bears, they also have a Sunday matchup at noon at Notre Dame.

With only two games left in nonconference play, Iowa has a goal of being undefeated in that part of the season. 

“Friday’s going to be a really good matchup for us,” midfielder and defender Natalie Winters said. “We want to come out with a lot of energy and mentality and keep the wins coming.” 

Though the Bears are 2-4-1 heading into this game, the Hawkeyes understand that they can’t overlook this game with Notre Dame on Sunday and Big Ten play coming up next Friday. 

“I think just sticking with our tough defensive line. That’s where we have our roots in,” Drkulec said. “When we play well defensively, we play well offensively, so I think rooting in that is how we’ll play well in this game.”

DiIanni is impressed with the good crowds the team has been receiving at home, which he credits to the fans and the area. 

He is also reminding his team to not have a letdown for today, adding that the team is currently hyper focused and are in good shape if they stay at that mentality.

“We talk about a lot with this group is that we have 19 opportunities to be all in on the games, mentally and physically, giving everything they have,” DiIanni said. “In the past we’ve had a few letdowns and at home, where we didn’t take an opponent as seriously as we needed to, or we didn’t perform at the level that we needed to.”

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