Iowa soccer pushes past Southeast Missouri State in final nonconference match

The Hawkeyes won, 2-0, as they completed their nonconference slate.


Casey Stone

Iowa forward Samantha Tawharu runs the ball down the field during the Iowa Soccer game against Purdue-Fort Wayne on Sep. 2, 2021 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Iowa defeated Purdue-Fort Wayne 5-0.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

When Iowa soccer entered the locker room in halftime of Sunday’s match against Southeast Missouri State, the Hawkeyes knew they needed to pick up the pace.

And they did.

In the 57th minute, senior forward Samantha Tawharu hit the first goal of the match off a pass from senior midfielder Hailey Rydberg, helping Iowa to a 2-0 victory.

“We run it in the midfield, got a good combination going, and then Hailey was able to play it through to me, and I just took a [shot] at the bottom corner,” Tawharu said.

Though one goal would have been enough for the Hawkeyes, they kept up the pressure.

Junior midfielder Natalie Massa scored in the penalty area during the 73rd minute — the first goal of her career. The ball ricocheted off freshman midfielder Alyssa Kellar, allowing Massa to find the back of the net.

“I was just in the right space at the right time,” Massa said. “The whole time, I was thinking, don’t miss, don’t miss, we practiced finishing the day before, so it was pretty special to get my first goal.”

Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said Massa is playing well in her recent starts, filling the void for sophomore forward Aleisha Ganief, who is injured.

DiIanni also mentioned the Hawkeyes looked tired and flat in the final match of nonconference play.

“I think maturity-wise we were able to recognize that our performance and our effort weren’t good enough at halftime,” DiIanni said. “Second half I thought we played much better, lacked a little bit of ability in the box. But I do still love this team. I think this team is heading in the right direction, but our lesson was that you’re not going to be able to play like that for any more games in the rest of the season with the Big Ten schedule we have.”

RELATED: Iowa soccer downs Kansas City, 2-0

Big picture

Iowa completed its nonconference schedule with a 6-1-1 record.

Through the first eight matches, the Hawkeyes have 151 shots, including the 21 they notched on Sunday. Eight different players have scored a combined 15 goals.

Iowa will now play 10 consecutive Big Ten matches before the conclusion of the regular season — five in Iowa City.

Defense steps up again

For the second straight game, the Hawkeyes shut out their opponent.

The Redhawks only fired off two shots — one in each half — and Iowa junior goalkeeper Monica Wilhelm didn’t need to secure any saves.

Sunday’s match was Wilhelm’s fourth game where she didn’t let any balls into the net. After being benched during the seventh match last season, Wilhelm is making her presence known this fall, alongside a strong back line.

Up next

The Hawkeyes will commence Big Ten play next Sunday with a match against Northwestern at 1 p.m. in Iowa City.

The Wildcats have played one ranked opponent this season — No. 2 North Carolina — and fell to the Tar Heels, 2-0, in Chapel Hill on Sept. 2.

The programs met last season in March, with the Wildcats taking home the victory, 2-0.

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