Iowa soccer loses to UCLA in second round of NCAA Tournament

The Hawkeyes lost, 2-1, after the Bruins scored two goals late in the game.

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Casey Stone

Iowa Midfielder Hailey Rydberg runs the ball down the field during the Iowa Soccer senior day game against Purdue on Mar. 28, 2021 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Iowa defeated Purdue 1-0.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor


Iowa soccer’s fairytale spring 2021 season ended Friday after losing 2-1 to the No. 3 overall seed UCLA Bruins in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Bruins scored their two goals within the final six minutes of the game to knock the Hawkeyes out of the tournament in Buies Creek, North Carolina, on the campus of Campbell University.

The Hawkeyes, who won two out their 11 games in the regular season and didn’t score until their eighth game, finished their season with a 7-9-1 record. They won four games in a row to win the Big Ten Tournament and won their first NCAA Tournament game in program history Tuesday with a 1-0 victory over Campbell.

Iowa’s defense held steady throughout the game, even though UCLA created more shot attempts. As time was running out, the Bruins decided to make a last-ditch attempt to tie the game up, and they did.

UCLA’s freshman forward Reilyn Turner got the ball through Iowa freshman goalkeeper Macy Enneking’s legs to tie the game with 5:13 left in the second half. It was the first time Enneking had allowed a goal since April 8 against Illinois — the game that started Iowa’s winning streak.

The Bruins didn’t want to settle for overtime, even after Enneking made two saves. With 30 seconds left on the clock, Turner scored the game-winner from the top of the box.

RELATED: Iowa soccer downs Campbell in first round of NCAA tournament

Iowa freshman forward Meike Ingles scored the first goal of the game at the six-minute mark off a pass from junior midfielder Josie Durr.

UCLA outshot Iowa, 23-9, and Iowa lead the way in saves, 4-1. The Bruins had more corners, as they had nine compared to the Hawkeyes’ one.

Ingles and junior midfielder Hailey Rydberg led Iowa in shots with four each.

“That’s the most inspirational performance I’ve ever been a part of in my 18 years of being a head coach!” Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said in a release. “Not just today, but the last three weeks. Playing with 17 total healthy players, being the underdog and on the road against every team we played. It’s been a blessing to coach them during this run.

“I’m so sad for them that we couldn’t do more today to get the result. UCLA is an incredibly talented team, and I was pleased with our tactical and physical commitment to each other. As heart breaking as this loss is, it’s a great reminder of what the standard needs to be next fall for our program, and we’ve gained invaluable experience as players. We will grow from this and come back better than ever.”

The Hawkeyes should be a team to watch out for when the fall season begins. Defender Diane Senkowski was the lone senior on the spring 2021 roster, so the rest of the team will return, along with incoming freshmen and transfers.

The Hawkeyes will have graduate transfer Courtney Powell, who played at Iowa State and is a forward, on the roster in the fall. They will also have another graduate transfer in forward Alyssa Walker, who played at Richmond, available in the fall.

Enneking, after becoming starting goalkeeper in the middle of the regular season, finished her freshman campaign with 52 saves in 10 games while giving up five goals.

Rydberg led the team in shots in the spring 2021 season with 44, while Ingles was right behind her with 38.

The fall season typically kicks off in August.

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