Iowa soccer faces Badgers, Golden Gophers on weekend road trip

The Hawkeyes head on their final road trip of the regular season and play against one of the top teams of the nation.

Iowa+defender+Hannah+Drkulec+looks+to+pass+during+a+women%27s+soccer+match+between+Iowa+and+Maryland+at+the+Iowa+Soccer+Complex+on+Sunday%2C+October+13%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+shut+out+the+Terrapins%2C+4-0.+%28Shivansh+Ahuja%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
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Iowa soccer faces Badgers, Golden Gophers on weekend road trip

Iowa defender Hannah Drkulec looks to pass during a women's soccer match between Iowa and Maryland at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Sunday, October 13, 2019. The Hawkeyes shut out the Terrapins, 4-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa defender Hannah Drkulec looks to pass during a women's soccer match between Iowa and Maryland at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Sunday, October 13, 2019. The Hawkeyes shut out the Terrapins, 4-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa defender Hannah Drkulec looks to pass during a women's soccer match between Iowa and Maryland at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Sunday, October 13, 2019. The Hawkeyes shut out the Terrapins, 4-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Shivansh Ahuja

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa defender Hannah Drkulec looks to pass during a women's soccer match between Iowa and Maryland at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Sunday, October 13, 2019. The Hawkeyes shut out the Terrapins, 4-0. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

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Coming off a 4-0 win against Maryland Oct. 13, the Iowa soccer team is ready to play its final two regular season road games of the season against Wisconsin today and Minnesota on Sunday.

The Badgers present the toughest test the Hawkeyes have faced all season, as they are 10-2-1 overall (6-0 in the Big Ten) and are ranked No. 10 by the United Soccer Coaches Poll. 

In Big Ten play, the Badgers have only allowed one goal and are on a four-game winning streak. The Badgers have not allowed a goal this month, and the last time they lost at home was August 2018.

“They’ve scored some nice goals,” senior captain and defender Hannah Drkulec said. “They’re scrappy. They’re really good upfront, so we’re expecting just to be really dialed in on the midfield and the backline.”

To have the best chance of success against Wisconsin, Drkulec emphasized the need to put pressure on their midfielders and forwards.

Head coach Dave DiIanni also had great praise for the Badgers.

“They are incredibly efficient in the attack,” DiIanni said. “They score really timely goals. I love their mentality. They’re competitive, they’re resilient, they’re difficult to play against, but defensively, if someone only gives up one goal in the Big Ten, they’re difficult to score against. They do give up a couple of chances per game, but not a lot, and we are going to have to be very disciplined defensively in our own right and be opportunistic the chances that we do get.”

After visiting Madison, the Hawkeyes will face the Golden Gophers. Though they won the Big Ten Tournament last season, the Golden Gophers are now down at the bottom of the conference, as they are 2-10-3 overall (1-5-1 in the Big Ten).

Despite their poor record, the Hawkeyes will not take a break against Minnesota.

“Minnesota is better than their record for sure,” DiIanni said. “I think they have a very good coaching staff, and they’re young. I love their mentality, as well. They’ve been a little bit unlucky. I think they’ve lost five or six one-goal games. They do struggle to score a bit, but they defend really well.”

RELATED: Whitaker provides elite defense for Iowa soccer 

The Big Ten women’s soccer standings are far from set in stone. Currently, Iowa is 5-3 in the Big Ten, meaning they have 15 points, which is tied for third with Penn State. The top eight teams make the Big Ten Tournament. 

Though Iowa is in a good position, each team has three to five games to go in the conference, and a lot can and will be decided in that time.

“We haven’t guaranteed ourselves a bid into the Big Ten Tournament yet,” DiIanni said. “So, I don’t think anybody has. Nobody’s been eliminated, nobody’s been guaranteed a spot yet, so I think that will happen after Thursday or Friday. For us, we’re really trying to just take it one day at a time to win as many games as we can so if we can control our own fate.”

The Hawkeyes have three regular season games remaining, and two of them are this weekend. They want to keep playing for as long as they can.

“I feel like our team is at a point where we are all so determined, and we all have so much energy that we really want to keep going,” freshman defender Samantha Cary said. “So, we’re just going to keep riding that horse until we can’t.”

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