Iowa soccer prepped for final regular season matches

The Hawkeyes will play Minnesota and Wisconsin this weekend, hoping to qualify for the eight-team Big Ten Tournament.


Casey Stone

Iowa defender Samantha Cary maintains possession of 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 currently controls its Big Ten Conference Tournament destiny. If the Hawkeyes win their last two regular season matches, they will qualify for the league’s eight-team postseason tourney that begins Oct. 31.

Iowa has 12 points in the Big Ten standings as of Wednesday.

“I think they’re excited that every game we’re playing to finish the regular season is valued, and there’s something to come from it,” Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said. “I think, at the end of the day, we talk about we don’t want to be the team that’s playing just for pride and to get better. We want to have something at stake.”

Iowa’s next two matchups will come against Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes will take on the Golden Gophers on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Iowa Soccer Complex in Iowa City. Then, they’ll travel to Madison on Sunday for their season finale against the Badgers at the Dan McClimon Memorial Soccer Complex at 1 p.m.

Iowa will ride a two-game win streak into its match with Minnesota Thursday.

“I think we’re starting to really hit that stride that we started to do towards the Big Ten Tournament last year,” Iowa junior defender Samantha Cary said. “It’s the grittiness and every tackle, everything we want to win. We want to go in hard to everything we want to do. I’m really seeing that on all aspects of the field, on the bench.”

RELATED: Iowa soccer’s Meike Ingles records hat trick in victory over Illinois

Last season, the Hawkeyes won their first-ever Big Ten Tournament title, downing both the Golden Gophers and Badgers in the process.

“It’ll be, obviously, two really great games against two really great opponents,” senior midfielder Hailey Rydberg said. “Obviously, we’re familiar with them because we did play them last year, but just going in with a have-to-win mentality and leaving it out all on the field will be really important because we know that they’re going to come out the same way.”

DiIanni believes Minnesota competes like a team Iowa has already played and beaten this year: Illinois. DiIanni said the Golden Gophers have strong forwards and midfielders. Despite that, DiIanni thinks his team’s back line matches up well with Minnesota’s offensive attack.

Iowa made a change at goalkeeper in its most recent game — a 3-2 win over Illinois. DiIanni inserted sophomore Macy Enneking into his lineup in the second half of the Hawkeyes’ game against the Fighting Illini. Before DiIanni made the switch at goalie, junior Monica Wilhelm had given up five goals in 1.5 games.

“We don’t want to give up the goals we give up,” DiIanni said. “But, at the end of the day, we said we’re going to play these games as aggressive as possible and compete on the front foot as well we call it and not be passive. I think we’ve done that, and I think the other part is it’s the end of the year, everyone’s tired, but at the end of day, we have goals that still need to be achieved and we’re in control of that so that’s exciting.”