Iowa women’s soccer logging minutes via intrasquad scrimmage

Even though they won’t be playing until the spring, the Hawkeyes got some important game action under their belts after playing intrasquad games the past two weeks.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa defender Riley Whitaker 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.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

After about six months off, the Iowa women’s soccer team has finally gotten to play some semi-competitive matches.

The team first scrimmaged on Oct. 9, playing to a 0-0 draw as the team was split in two.

Being out on the pitch in a competitive setting was exciting for everyone involved, as it marked the first time since the team had played in a full 11-on-11 setting since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold on the U.S. Although the team did not get to put on the Black and Gold uniforms until the second game, playing again was beneficial for all involved.

“Everyone was super excited to get out there, and I feel like everyone has been waiting for this moment,” junior Riley Whitaker said. “It was nice to be able to get there, be competitive with each other and just play.”

Despite the first scrimmage ending in a draw, there were many positives for the Hawkeyes to take away from the experience.

“I was really happy with how we played,” junior Hailey Rydberg said. “Both teams were super competitive and overall it was a really good game, and it was fun to see everyone get out there and train with the intensity that we had carried over from that week’s practice.”

The second scrimmage finished 2-0 in favor of the more energetic and composed gold team.

“My team, the gold team, did really well keeping the energy level as how we wanted it to be,” freshman Maggie Johnston said.  “So, being able to keep the energy level the whole time and finish our chances gave us the other upper hand over the black team.”

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According to head coach Dave DiIanni, both teams showed great promise during the second match, and played a pretty even game despite the gold team’s 2-0 win. However, conditioning proved to be a problem for both squads.

“You’re seeing a consistency level come from certain players, and they are understanding what we are asking them to do,” DiIanni said.

DiIanni believes the midfield is the most complete part of his team, and it is easy to see why. Midfielders on both squads created many chances and controlled the pace of the game with much of the team contending for playing time.

Success in the midfield is the reason behind the Hawkeyes’ change in playing style for this coming season. Iowa will be looking to get more of the ball and play a possession-based game to take advantage of the talent in the middle.

“The strongest part of the team right now is the midfield,” DiIanni said.

Iowa also has its fair share of forwards and defenders on the roster, but it hasn’t emphasized them as the strength of the team.

Fortunately, there will be plenty of opportunities for Iowa’s forwards and defenders to prove themselves as the Hawkeyes intend to scrimmage every Friday until Thanksgiving break begins.

On Sept. 23, the NCAA announced that Division I Women’s Soccer can begin play Feb. 3 and have its championship May 13-17.