Iowa soccer downs Nebraska in comeback

Iowa soccer completed its largest comeback in program history with a 4-3 victory in Lincoln Thursday night.

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Casey Stone

Iowa forward Alyssa Walker goes to kick the ball during a soccer game between Iowa and Michigan State at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. Michigan State defeated Iowa 2-1.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter


Iowa soccer allowed three goals in the first 40 minutes of its match against Nebraska on Thursday night. But that wasn’t a problem for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa completed its largest comeback in program history in Lincoln, taking down the Huskers, 4-3.

After the Hawkeyes were down 3-0, Iowa responded with four unanswered goals throughout the final 50 minutes of the match, with graduate transfer forward Alyssa Walkers knocking in the game-winning goal in the 81st minute.

Freshman midfielder Kenzie Roling knotted the match up during the 64th minute, striking a goal from inside the penalty area.

The Hawkeyes, down 3-1 heading into the second half, quickly made it a one-goal match after senior midfielder Hailey Rydberg knocked a penalty kick into the net in the 49th minute.

Graduate transfer forward Courtney Powell ignited the scoring for the Hawkeyes in the 42nd minute of the match.

The Huskers put goals on the board in the seventh and 11th minutes, and Nebraska notched another in the 39th. At halftime, Dave DiIanni subbed out starting goalkeeper Monica Wilhelm for sophomore Macy Enneking. In Enneking’s first appearance on the pitch this season, she secured six saves and never let the ball into the net.

“This was the most emotional and inspiring comeback I’ve been a part of in 19 years as a head coach,” DiIanni said in a release. “Credit to Nebraska with how they began the game and put us on our heels right from the start of the game.

“I’m not sure if we were nervous or not ready, but momentum swung quickly for them. I am incredibly proud of the resiliency our team showed in the second, but that goal to end the first half with the majority of substitutes on the field was, in my opinion, the difference spring-boarding momentum into the second half. Today’s game won’t have the same value if we can’t match the quality of play and intensity on Sunday.”

BIG PICTURE

The Hawkeyes (9-5-1 overall, 3-4 Big Ten) found themselves in the win column, ending the two-match losing streak that started on Sept. 30

With nine points in the Big Ten Conference standings, the Hawkeyes are tied for eighth place with Penn State and Minnesota. Thursday’s victory kept the Hawkeyes in contention for the eight-team conference tournament.

The match represented the second time the Hawkeyes have comeback from a deficit this season in Big Ten play. Iowa defeated Northwestern, 2-1, on Sept. 19 after being down, 1-0.

FRESHMAN STANDOUT

Roling has five goals on the season with her score against Nebraska. It marked her first goal since Sept. 2 against Purdue-Fort Wayne, and Roling’s overall goal total is second on the Hawkeyes to Walker’s seven.

Roling has 10 overall points, which is tied for second on the team with Rydberg. Though Roling hasn’t recorded any assists yet, she is making a difference on an offense that has scored 25 goals on the season.

UP NEXT

The Hawkeyes will return to Iowa City for a Sunday match against Illinois at 1 p.m. The Fighting Illini (5-8-1 overall, 1-5-1 Big Ten) lost, 5-0, at Minnesota on Thursday night.

Last season, Iowa defeated Illinois during the first round of the Big Ten regional weekend, kickstarting the Hawkeyes’ run the  Big Ten Tournament title after finishing the regular season in 12th place.

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