Around the Big Ten: 2022 women’s soccer

The Daily Iowan previews each Big Ten women’s soccer program heading into the 2022 season.

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David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Players try and head the ball during the Iowa/Rutgers soccer game on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. Iowa won the match 1-0. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter


 

The 2021 Big Ten women’s soccer season was successful for the conference, as six programs qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

Rutgers earned the Big Ten regular-season championship and advanced to the College Cup Semifinals, while Michigan was the conference’s automatic selection to the national tournament after winning the Big Ten Tournament. The other conference schools punching a ticket to the NCAA Tournament were Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

With the 2022 women’s soccer campaign set to begin in August, it is primed to be another strong year for the conference. Below is a quick look at each Big Ten program heading into the season.

 

Iowa

The Hawkeyes finished the 2021 season 12-6-2 (wins-losses-ties) overall and 5-4-1 in the Big Ten. Despite a .650 winning percentage, Iowa was not chosen for the NCAA Tournament after qualifying for the past two seasons under head coach Dave DiIanni.

Forward/midfielder Kenzie Roling is the program’s leading returning scorer after netting six goals during her freshman season.

In previous years, the Hawkeyes have made a name for themselves on defense after giving up just one goal per game in 2021, and they look strong on that end for 2022. Defender Sara Wheaton is back for her fifth season and defender Sam Cary enters her senior year.

Houston graduate transfer Cassidy Formanek joins the backline, and goalkeepers Monica Wilhelm and Macy Enneking return after splitting starts for the past two years.

 

Illinois

2021 was not a season to remember for the Fighting Illini. Illinois closed out the year at 5-11-1 overall with a woeful 1-8-1 conference mark.

Hope Breslin, a midfielder who tallied a team-high seven goals in 2021, is no longer with the program after Angel City FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) drafted her. So, fifth-year senior forward Makena Silber is Illinois’ returning scorer with five goals.

Defense was a major issue for Illinois, with the Fighting Illini’s 2.06 goals-against average being the worst in the Big Ten. Goalkeepers Naomi Jackson and Julia Cili are back to help limit the damage in 2022.

 

RELATED: Iowa soccer freshman Kellen Fife to compete as outside forward

 

Indiana

The Hoosiers missed out on a Big Ten Tournament appearance after compiling a 3-4-3 conference record with a 9-5-4 overall record. They failed to score in five of their last six contests and their 1.28 goal average was the third lowest in the Big Ten.

They’ll look at midfielder Paige Webber to boost their times finding the back of the net, since she led the program in 2021 with five goals. Forward Jen Blitchok, who topped the Hoosiers with 12 points, returns for 2022.

Indiana was the best defensive program in the conference with a .67 goals-against average and starting goalkeeper Jamie Gerstenberg is ready to suit up for her sophomore campaign.

 

Maryland

Following a disastrous 2021 in which the Terrapins went 0-7-3 in the Big Ten and won four matches overall, they hired Meghan Ryan Nemzer as their new head coach in December. Nemzer spent the previous eight seasons as the associate head coach at Rutgers.

The program is in transition with new transfers, but forward Mikayla Dayes, who was first on the team with seven points, returns as a graduate student.

Senior Madeline Smith is the Terrapins’ sole returning goalkeeper, and she allowed 10 goals in 575 minutes last season. Amit Cohen could challenge Smith at the net as Cohen comes in from Florida Atlantic where she started all 18 games in 2021 and recorded four shutouts.

 

Michigan

The Wolverines reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals before Florida State ended its run. When all was said and done, Michigan was 18-4-3 overall and 6-2-2 in the conference.

Midfielder Raleigh Loughman, who led the Wolverines with nine goals and 27 points, has graduated. That leaves graduate student midfielder Meredith Haakenson, who was third in the program with 16 points as the best returning offensive contributor.

Last season’s starting goaltender, Hillary Beall, left the Wolverines, and graduate student Izzy Nino is set to replace Beall. Nino surrendered zero goals in 144 minutes during 2021.

 

Michigan State

With head coach Jeff Hosler directing the Spartans for the first time in 2021, the Spartans made the Big Ten Tournament with a 5-4-1 conference record and 10-4-3 overall mark. It was the first time the program qualified for the tournament since 2011 and they hosted a quarterfinal match as the No. 4 seed.

Forward Ava Cook put up a Spartan-best seven goals and three assists. She is now on the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars after being selected in the first round of the draft. So, junior midfielder Zivana Labovic is Michigan State’s top offensive returner after accumulating four goals and two assists in 2021.

Goalkeeper Lauren Kozal was the only Spartan to spend time in net during 2021, and she is back for her sixth season in 2022 Kozal was the 2021 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year with a 0.7 goals-against average.

 

Minnesota

During her first season in charge of Minnesota, head coach Erin Chastain — sister of United States Women’s National Team legend Brandi Chastain — led the Golden Gophers to an 8-6-3 overall record and 4-6 mark in the Big Ten.

Senior forward Izzy Brown and junior midfielder Sophia Boman are back after each recording a program-best 12 points. Brown topped the Golden Gophers with six goals while Boman showed the edge in assists with four.

After securing a career goals-against average of .79, starting goalkeeper Megan Plaschko is ready for her senior season.

 

Nebraska

It was a mediocre 2021 for the Cornhuskers as they ended the season with a 7-9-2 overall mark and a 3-5-2 conference record.

Forward Reagan Raabe returns for her junior season after registering a Nebraska-best seven goals and 17 points.

The Cornhuskers mixed it up at goalkeeper in 2021, playing Sami Hauk for 10 contests and Makinzie Short for 11 games. Short is not on the roster for 2022, but Hauk, who recorded a 1.19 goals-against average in 2021, is.

 

Northwestern

The Wildcats finished 2021 similarly to the Cornhuskers with a 7-9-2 overall record and a 3-6-1 conference mark.

Last season, midfielder Josie Aulicino, who will compete in her junior season this fall, topped Northwestern with six goals and eight assists.

The Wildcats only played Mackenzie Wood as goalkeeper in 2021, but she transferred to Notre Dame. Maddie Lo, Reiley Fitzpatrick, and Mia Rabin are possible options for Northwestern in that position.

 

Ohio State

After a first-round NCAA Tournament exit to Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes finished 2021 with a 9-9-2 overall mark in 2021 while compiling a 4-4-2 Big Ten record.

Kayla Fischer is back for her senior season after the forward tallied an Ohio State-best 19 points. The Buckeyes also return their leading goal scorer, forward Kailyn Dudukovich, who put up seven scores her freshman year.

Last year’s starting goalkeeper, Bailey Kolinski, is out of the program, so, the goalkeepers on the 2022 roster are Kat Robinson, Molly Pritchard, and Haley Roberts.

 

Penn State

Though the Nittany Lions underperformed in conference play at 5-5, their nonconference success proved key in qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. They closed 2021 at 12-8-1 after falling to South Carolina in the Sweet-16.

Forward Ally Schlegal led Penn State with 10 goals, and she will start her redshirt junior season this fall. Schlegal was tied for a program-best 24 points with midfielder Sam Coffey, who has signed with the NWSL’s Portland Thorns FC.

Katherine Asman started 21 contests at net last season and allowed 29 goals. Like Schlegal, Asman is returning for her redshirt junior campaign.

 

Purdue

For the first time since 2009, the Boilermakers earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament after steamrolling to second place in the Big Ten with an 8-2 conference mark. After Notre Dame downed them on penalty kicks in the second round, the Boilermakers finished 15-4-3 overall.

The 2021 Big Ten Forward of the Year, Sarah Griffith, topped the Boilermakers with 16 goals and 35 points. She left West Lafayette after the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars drafted her. So, midfielder Emily Matthews is the program’s best returning offensive contributor. She totaled six goals and seven assists.

Purdue will replace 2021’s starting goalkeeper, Marisa Bova, who gave up less than a goal per game and was acquired by the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage. Kailey Kimball, Sara Kile, and Emma Tompkins are the Boilermakers’ goalkeepers for 2022.

 

Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights were the best Big Ten program in 2021, going undefeated in conference matches, and were one contest-win away from the NCAA Championship game when Florida State defeated them in the semifinals.

Their best offensive player from 2021, midfielder/forward Frankie Tagliaferri, has joined the Courage. She registered 13 goals and nine assists in her sole season with the Scarlet Knights. Riley Tiernan, who put up eight goals and 13 assists, is Rutgers’ best offensive returner after being named the 2021 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Last season’s first-string goalkeeper, Meagan McClelland, is slated for her fifth season after recording a 0.69 goals-against average in 2021.

 

Wisconsin

Despite holding the eighth and final seed in the Big Ten Tournament, the Badgers qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin ended its season with a round-of-16 loss to Santa Clara, finishing 10-6-6 overall and 3-3-4 in Big Ten play.

Emma Jaskaniec was first for Wisconsin with nine goals and 22 points, and the midfielder/forward is with the program for her senior year.

Longtime Badger goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer is with the NWSL’s Racing Louisville FC, so Wisconsin will need to find a new starter. Lily Rawnsley, Alex LaQuaglia, and Erin McKinney could fill the void left by Bloomer, who forfeited 17 goals in 22 games last season.

s in 22 games last season.

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