Fast start launches Iowa soccer to blowout win over Northern Iowa

After two ties and a 2-1 loss in their last three matches, the Hawkeyes scored six goals in a dominant victory in Cedar Falls.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Junior midfielder Kyndal Anderson celebrates on of the Hawkeyes’ goals on Sunday Sept. 11. Iowa soccer defeated Northern Iowa, 6-0 at the UNI Soccer Field.

Sam Knupp, Sports Reporter

After scoring two goals in its last three games — going 0-1-2 over that stretch —  the Iowa soccer team tallied six goals in the first half on its way to a dominant win over Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Sunday afternoon. 

The Hawkeyes counted two goals from Caroline Halonen and one apiece from Elle Otto, Sam Cary, Hailey Rydberg, and Morgan Lietz.  Halonen and Lietz’s tallies were the first goals of their respective Hawkeye careers.

Prior to the showdown with the Panthers, Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said multiple times that his group has struggled to find the back of the net. DiIanni said a change in mindset was part of the Hawkeyes’ scoring barrage on Sunday.

“We talked a lot about mentality — being aggressive, being committed to making runs into the box, and being aggressive with looking to threaten their backline,” DiIanni said. “And I thought we saw that in the first half.”

DiIanni said the Hawkeyes’ through balls and dribble penetration were impressive and that he’s excited about his team’s attacking performance.

Going into the game against Northern Iowa, Iowa had only scored seven goals in seven matches, putting them 13th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten.

RELATED: Iowa soccer loses to Iowa State in Ames

Iowa nearly doubled that total in Cedar Falls alone.

“Goal scoring is a momentum builder,” DiIanni said. “Once you see one hit the back of the net, you want to see more. And we just hadn’t seen one hit the back of the net for a while. So I’m really appreciative of their willingness to take risks and take chances. And I think they were rewarded with six goals.”

Big Picture

Iowa is now 3-3-2, with all of its victories immediately following losses.

“Very happy with our team and their choice to fight,” DiIanni said. “They learn a lot from losses. They want to be coached … and they want to get better.”

As the Hawkeyes gear up for conference play, DiIanni said his team will need to work on consistency and keeping up their intensity for the full 90-minutes.

“I do think that our team has got a little bit of an identity defensively,” DiIanni said, “And I think the more that we can commit to defending as a group and eliminating opportunities, I think the better we’re going to be as we move forward.”

Fast Start

Following what DiIanni described as slow starts in four of his team’s first seven games, Iowa controlled the game from the very beginning on Sunday. 

Iowa’s six goals came in a 25-minute span from the 8th to 33rd minutes.

“I think that mentally, they were very engaged,” DiIanni said. “I think they, as a group, wanted to be on the front foot and put pressure on UNI early. And honestly, we played with the lineup a little bit and came out with a little bit of an older, experienced lineup, which … could be the credit to the fast start.”

What’s Next

Iowa will open Big Ten play against 4-1-2 Wisconsin on Friday. The Badgers are coming off wins against Butler and Milwaukee and will host Northern Illinois on Monday before traveling to Iowa City.

In the Hawkeyes’ most recent match against Wisconsin, the teams tied, 1-1, in Madison.

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