Iowa soccer’s strong second half not enough to beat Penn State

The Hawkeyes wrapped up their season with a 1-1 draw against the Nittany Lions.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa midfielder Caroline Halonen chases the ball down the field during a soccer game between Iowa and Northern Illinois at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex in Iowa City on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies, 4-2.

Sam Knupp, Sports Reporter

The Iowa soccer team tied with Penn State, 1-1, in a back-and-forth game on Sunday at the Iowa Soccer Complex.

The Nittany Lions controlled the action early on, outshooting the Hawkeyes, 5-1, in the first half.

Iowa’s offense came back strong in the second half, holding 62 percent of possession time and outshooting Penn State, 7-5, during the final 45 minutes.

Penn State notched the match’s first goal in the 24th minute when senior Ally Schlegel’s perfectly placed shot careened off the left post and in, past junior goalkeeper Macy Enneking’s right hand.

Iowa bounced back in the second half when sophomore Elle Otto took control of the ball on the touchline and found graduate transfer Caroline Halonen, who put a shot into the top corner to tie it up in the 52nd minute.

“The ball was going down the line,” Otto said. “It was about to go out. Some people say it went out, but I don’t think it did. I took a touch past it and hit it to Caroline.”

The Penn State coaches claimed the ball was over the touchline before Otto got to it, but the goal stood as called.

“I tried to pull off the line so she could slot it back to me and then when she did,” Halonen said. “I was wide open, so I was able to finish far post.”

The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions each generated numerous scoring chances for the next 33 minutes but the score stayed tied until Penn State was awarded a penalty kick in the 85th minute. 

Penn State’s Penelope Hocking went down in the box and Cassidy Formanek, a Hawkeye grad transfer, was called for a foul. Formanek did not make contact with the ball or Hocking.

Schlegel stepped up to take the kick and put it to Enneking’s right side, but the goalkeeper made the save, keeping the score level.

Enneking said she and Schlegel were United Soccer League teammates during the summer.

“There was some kind of funny banter between me and her,” Enneking said. “But as soon as it hit my hands, I was like, ‘Hey let’s go. We’re still in this.’”

Big Picture

Despite beating Northwestern on Thursday, Iowa was out of Big Ten Tournament contention before Sunday’s game began.

The Hawkeyes still have a very slight chance of being selected for the NCAA Tournament, but head coach Dave DiIanni said their chances are slim.

Iowa finished the regular season off at 5-6-7, with a 2-3-5 record in the Big Ten.

DiIanni said his team was led by upperclassmen this season.

“I think progress was made,” DiIanni said. “And it’s very disappointing that we’re not still playing, because, arguably, we’re playing as good as anybody in the Big Ten right now. And unfortunately, some of the results cost us.”

Iowa will lose at least 10 upperclassmen next season, including key players Sara Wheaton, Hailey Rydberg, Halonen, Josie Durr, and Formanek.

“You lose all your experience but change is exciting as well,” DiIanni said. “We have a lot of good foundational pieces.”