Iowa soccer defeats Minnesota, 2-0, to advance to Big Ten Tournament

The Hawkeyes scored two goals early in the first half in their Big Ten Regional Final game.


Casey Stone

Iowa Forward Samantha Tawharu heads the ball during the Iowa Soccer senior day game against Purdue on Mar. 28, 2021 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Iowa defeated Purdue 1-0.

Hunter Moeller , Sports Reporter

Iowa soccer punched its ticket to the Big Ten Tournament Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 Big Ten Regional Weekend victory over Minnesota at Demirjian Park in Champaign, Illinois.

The Hawkeyes stunning two early first-half goals were enough to put the Golden Gophers away.

Iowa also got some payback against Minnesota, avenging a 1-0 loss to Minnesota March 14.

The Hawkeyes jumped out of the gates early on Sunday. Just one minute into the game, freshman Meike Ingles, who scored the game-winner in the opening round of the Big Ten Regional Weekend against Illinois, intercepted a pass from Minnesota goalkeeper Megan Plaschko. Ingles then placed the ball over the Plaschko’s head for the first goal of the game.

Just six minutes later, Iowa found the back of the net again, this time from junior Samantha Tawharu.

Like Ingles, Tawharu stole a pass from Plaschko and curled a shot from deep outside the penalty box’s right corner. The ball hit the top-left corner of the goal to give the Hawkeyes a 2-0 lead before the 10-minute mark.

For the rest of the contest, it was all defense for Iowa. Iowa took five total shots on the day, all coming in the first half. The Minnesota attack didn’t show up until the second half. Seven of the Gopher’s nine total shots came in the second half.

The Hawkeye defense held firm and notched their fourth shutout of the season. Iowa goalkeeper Macy Enneking proved once again why she is one of the best freshmen in the Big Ten. Enneking came up with three saves and secured her fourth-career victory in the back of the net.

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The Hawkeyes knew they would have to be on their game if they wanted to win.

“Today’s game went how we were hoping it would go,” Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said in a release. “After playing Thursday into overtime and Minnesota not able to play, it was incredibly important to start fast, get an early need, knowing that Minnesota will not only be fresher as the game wore on, but they are relentless in how they attack.”

The Hawkeyes picked the right time to get hot. They have won three of their last four games to move to 4-8-1 in the spring 2021 season.

The win over Minnesota is the Hawkeyes’ largest margin of victory this season. The two first-half goals also mark the first time this season the Hawkeyes have scored multiple times in the same half.

DiIanni was proud of his team’s efforts once it got ahead early.

“I was happy with how we defended with a two-goal lead and momentum-swinging toward Minnesota in the second half,” DiIanni said. “We showed our lack of experience playing with a lead, but in fairness, it hasn’t happened a lot this year. It was a courageous effort by our team this weekend. I’m very proud of them.”

With the win, the Hawkeyes advance to the Big Ten Tournament for the second time in a row. Iowa will play against Penn State Thursday in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. in Pennsylvania. The game will be televised on BTN.

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