Iowa soccer starts Big Ten play in Indiana

After finishing their non-conference season with a perfect record, the Iowa soccer team starts Big Ten play today in Indiana

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Iowa soccer starts Big Ten play in Indiana

Defender Hannah Drkulec fights for the ball during a game against Virginia Commonwealth University on Sep 2, 2018. The Hawkeyes won the match 2-0. (Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

Defender Hannah Drkulec fights for the ball during a game against Virginia Commonwealth University on Sep 2, 2018. The Hawkeyes won the match 2-0. (Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Megan

Defender Hannah Drkulec fights for the ball during a game against Virginia Commonwealth University on Sep 2, 2018. The Hawkeyes won the match 2-0. (Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Megan

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Megan

Defender Hannah Drkulec fights for the ball during a game against Virginia Commonwealth University on Sep 2, 2018. The Hawkeyes won the match 2-0. (Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

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The undefeated No. 19 Iowa soccer team begins it’s Big Ten slate this weekend with two afternoon games against Indiana and Purdue. 

Iowa’s 8-0 record matches its win total from last season, but so far it’s been all nonconference action. The Hawkeyes start Big Ten play today at 2 p.m. against the 4-3 Hoosiers, followed by a game at noon Sept. 22 against the 4-2-1 Boilermakers. 

Head coach Dave DiIanni said that the all the teams in the conference are close to each other in terms of skill. 

“Our league has a great deal of parity from top to bottom, to be honest,” DiIanni said. “I think it’s very well coached. There’s not a lot that separates 14 to one in our conference.”

Though the team is proud of its recent national recognitions, it understands that those occurred under nonconference play. 

Senior defender and captain Hannah Drkulec said that Big Ten play is a whole different season. 

“We know that none of [the national recognition] matters compared to what we do in the Big Ten,” Drkulec said. “Now, it’s a whole new reset point for us where our season is about to start. We’re a clean slate. No one’s played each other yet, so we need to make our impact in this conference as well as we did in the nonconference.”

The good news for the Hawkeyes is that the momentum is on their side from nonconference play, which they plan to continue in Big Ten play.

“Right now, we are in a really good place being 8-0,” sophomore midfielder Josie Durr said. “We have the momentum going our way because we are able to build off our previous games, and we’re going in with a really good mindset and we’re really pumped.”

The team plans to continue with its current mindset of a being hard, gritty team. It sees itself as blue-collar.

RELATED: Iowa soccer relies on team depth for success 

“Even though we’re being hunted, I still feel like we’re going to act like the hunters, because that’s just our nature of play,” Drkulec said. “We love to go out and make those big tackles. I mean I know I do, and I know our teammates do that to. So, I think that just having that mindset that we’re still hunting that other team, because even though we might have that national ranking now, like I said, Big Ten’s a whole clean slate, so we’re going after each team hunting them in the same way.”

DiIanni likes this type of mentality. He knows that when his team eventually loses, this attitude will help bring them up.

“I want them to continue to be the hunters and not the hunted,” DiIanni said. 

This mindset will be especially important as the team starts Big Ten play on the road. Last season, the team only won one conference game on the road. 

DiIanni said the team has already proven that it can win on the road with three wins coming on opposing fields already. Now it needs to do the same in conference play.

“We just talked to them about being emotionally and physically being prepared to go on the road to be gritty and tough,” DiIanni said, “and to do whatever it takes to win a game on Friday night.” 

 

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