Iowa soccer travels to Rutgers and Maryland

The Hawkeyes have a Thursday match against the Scarlet Knights and a Sunday match against the Terrapins.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Defender Samantha Cary clears a ball during a soccer game between Iowa and Minnesota on March 14, 2021 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The Gophers defeated the Hawkeyes 1-0.

Hunter Moeller, Sports Reporter

Iowa soccer will play at Rutgers Thursday at Yurcak Field at noon. Iowa will then travel to Ludwig Field, Maryland’s home pitch, to play Sunday at 1 p.m. The Maryland game will be televised on BTN.

The last time Iowa faced these two teams was back in 2019. Iowa was victorious against Maryland, beating the Terrapins, 4-0. Iowa lost in its last matchup against Rutgers, losing the match, 1-0.

Rutgers is ranked No. 17 in the nation and sits atop of the Big Ten with a 4-1-1 record. Maryland is currently 0-4-2, one spot above Iowa.

Iowa comes into this week’s competition off a 1-0 loss to Minnesota at home. The shutout marks the sixth time this season where Iowa has failed to score a goal. The Hawkeyes are still searching for their first goal of the season.

In three of the five losses, the Hawkeyes have outshot their opponents but haven’t found the net.

While they have struggled on the offensive end, they have shown significant improvement, something Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni is proud of.

“I think we’re in a better place,” DiIanni said. “Our defensive shape is very good, and we’re better in that regard. If we were in this place defensively weeks ago, I think we might have had different results.”

Experience has been a focal point on this year’s squad. Iowa went from having one of the most veteran teams in the country, in 2019, to having now one of the youngest. This year the Hawkeyes have one lone senior, defender Diane Senkowski.

Iowa has a roster of 28 players, 10 of those are either freshman or redshirt freshman. There are five freshmen who have started games this season, which are Aleisha Ganief, Meike Ingles, Rielee Fetty, Jalyn Mosley, and Maggie Johnston.

RELATED: Iowa soccer falls to Minnesota, 1-0

On the defensive end, Iowa has shown tremendous effort. The Hawkeyes have held their own, allowing one for fewer goals in three of their six matches.

The defense is also where Iowa is most experienced. Junior Sara Wheaton and sophomore Sam Cary started every game in 2019. Both were critical in helping the 2019 team allowing just 18 goals in 21 games.

Redshirt sophomore Monica Wilhelm has been in the net for Iowa in each match this season. She has 27 saves in 560 minutes and a 1.50 goals-against per game average. Her 4.5 saves per game rank fourth in the conference.

Several Hawkeyes have played full-matches so far this season. Wheaton, who missed the Minnesota match, has played the most full-games. Ganief, Fetty, Cary, Senkowski, and junior Samantha Tawharu have also played an entire match at some point during the season.

Iowa has shown that it can create chances, but it has had trouble doing so for the matches’ entirety, something DiIanni said in the previous match.

“The difference is we need to create those chances,” DiIanni said. “We need to get wide, and we need to get corners. We can’t fall off the game plan. The reality is the Big Ten is a very tough conference, and you got to play a bit better.”