Lineup analysis: Iowa soccer

The Hawkeyes will return the majority of their roster from the 2020-21 Big Ten Championship team for the upcoming fall season.


Grace Smith

Penn State midfielder, Sam Coffey, kicks the ball during a corner kick during the Iowa women’s soccer match v. Penn State at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Thursday, March 25, 2021. The Nittany Lions defeated the Hawkeyes 1-0.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

Iowa soccer won its first-ever Big Ten Tournament title in the spring 2020-21 season, despite a 2-7-1 regular season record.

The Hawkeyes also won their first NCAA Tournament game in program history, defeating Campbell, 1-0.

Now, Iowa is returning the majority of its 2020-21 roster for the upcoming fall season. The Hawkeyes are only losing one starter from last 2020-21 — defender Diane Senkowski. Iowa has also gained two graduate transfers and seven new freshmen.

Here is a possible lineup scenario for Iowa soccer in 2021-22.

GK — Macy Enneking — sophomore

The Hilliard, Ohio, native didn’t see time on the field until the seventh game of the 2020-21 season.

After she was subbed in at halftime, the Hawkeyes scored their first goal of the season.

Throughout the rest of the season, Enneking became the main goalkeeper for the Hawkeyes, finishing with a 0.47 goals against average.

She was named the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Defensive Player and was a unanimous All-Big Ten Freshman team selection.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Monica Wilhelm lost the starting job in the middle of the 2020-21 season. Freshman Blythe Braun and redshirt Sabrina Shaw are the other two goalkeepers on the roster.

D — Sam Cary — junior

Cary has played every game in her Hawkeye career but one — the 2021 Big Ten Tournament Championship game. She received a red card in the semifinal match, forcing her to sit out of the title game.

In her two seasons at Iowa, she has logged 3,065 minutes and helped the defense to 14 shutouts. Cary has been a key defender for Iowa, notching an assist on the Hawkeyes’ game-winning goal against Campbell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

D — Sara Wheaton — senior

A starter in every game but one for the Hawkeyes in her collegiate career, Wheaton was voted the Hawkeyes’ Defensive Player of the Year in 2020-21. She scored the game-winning goal against Campbell in the NCAA Tournament — the fourth goal of her career.

Wheaton will be the Hawkeyes’ most experienced player on the back line in 2021-22.

D — Riley Whitaker —junior

The Ankeny, Iowa, native did not play last season because of a knee injury.

When she played in the 2019-20 season, Whitaker started every game and logged 1,889 minutes — the most on the team.

She was named to the 2019-20 All-Big Ten Tournament team, along with Iowa’s Defensive Player of the Year. In the 2018-19 season, she was the team’s Newcomer of the Year.

D ­— Aleisha Ganief — sophomore

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As a freshman, the Vancouver, Canada, native played 16 games and started 14 while playing 90 minutes in five games. However, most of her starts came as a forward.

Ganief will likely start some games in a defending position, but she could also be replaced by other players in the role. Junior Natalie Massa started two games as a defender last season, and sophomore Jalyn Mosley started three before a season-ending injury.

M — Hailey Rydberg — senior

Rydberg was a captain on the team in 2020-21 and the Hawkeyes’ Most Valuable Player.

She started all 17 games in her junior season and garnered 44 shots — the highest on the team.

Rydberg was also named to the 2020-21 All-Big Ten Tournament team.

M — Josie Durr — redshirt senior

Like Rydberg, Durr started all 17 games in 2020-21. The Solon, Iowa, native scored one goal with one assist — her assist came against No. 3 UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Championships.

Durr has 28 career starts with the Hawkeyes, contributing four goals and two assists.

M — Maggie Johnston — sophomore

The final midfield spot could feature different players, but Johnston is likely to start when the season begins in August.

As a freshman, Johnston started the first six games of 2020-21 before an injury took her out for the rest of the season.

Other players potentially seeing the start at midfield are senior Olivia Hellweg, who started three games last season, sophomore Rielee Fetty, who started 16 games, and freshman Kenzie Roling.

F — Meike Ingles — sophomore

Ingles started 14 games in her freshman season in 2020-21 and scored a team-high four goals, all of which came in the postseason. She also had one assist 38 shots on the team, 22 of which were on goal.

She was named the 2021 Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Offensive Player and selected to the Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Best XI First Team.

F — Samantha Tawharu — senior

Since Tawharu’s sophomore year, the New Zealand native has notched seven goals and six assists.

Tawharu had two goals and one assist in 2020-21 while starting 16 games. She was named to the All-Big Ten Tournament team last season.

F — Courtney Powell — graduate senior

The graduate transfer from Iowa State has 11 career goals and three assists through four seasons with the Cyclones.

The final forward spot could change, based on who Iowa is facing and internal developments throughout the season.

Other players that could start at forward are senior Jenny Cape, who scored the game-winning goal in the Big Ten championship game, senior Skylar Alward, graduate transfer Alyssa Walker, Roling, and Ganief.

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