The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s soccer notebook | Hawkeyes look to take hot start along on Virginia road trip

The Hawkeyes are 5-0 to open the season and will close out non-conference play with road games against No. 12 Virginia and George Mason.
Sara Stumpff
The Iowa Women’s Soccer team cheer on their team from the sidelines after a score during a soccer game between Iowa and Southeast Missouri State at The University of Iowa’s Soccer Complex on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Redhawks, 4-0.

The Iowa women’s soccer team is off to its best start since 2019 with a 5-0 record to open the season. 

The Hawkeyes, who finished last season with a 5-6-7 record, have already matched that season’s win total. They now hold the top record in the Big Ten to this point, although Big Ten play will not start until the Hawkeyes host Illinois on Sept. 17. 

Although the defense held up its end of the bargain last season, allowing just 18 goals, the attack struggled to find the back of the net — but the Iowa attack has tremendously improved this season. 

Junior forward Kenzie Roling’s health this season, after missing a period of games last year due to injury, has been crucial to the Iowa attack. Roling said she’s felt great to open this season and is excited to see what the Big Ten has in store this year.

Roling is tied for the team leader in goals with two so far this year but is the outright team leader in assists with three. She’s been incredibly dynamic up top, and her pace to get in behind the defense and poise on the ball has led the Iowa attack to many goal-scoring opportunities early this year. 

RELATED: Iowa women’s soccer off to best start since 2019

The defense has remained as solid as ever with senior captains Samantha Cary and Maggie Johnston fortifying the back line and goalkeeper Macy Enneking backing them up. Iowa has allowed an average of just five shots per game this season, allowing just one goal so far.

But the group maintains its tight-knit relationships off of the field too.  

“Coach [Dave DiIanni] says we’re always talking, and if we’re not, something’s wrong,” Roling said. “I think that plays over onto the field. We all trust and love each other, and we all have a similar goal.”

Junior forward Elle Otto and sophomore Belmont transfer forward Shae Doherty both agreed that the team feels incredibly close and marked that as the biggest reason for the team’s early success.

“We have a lot of girls who really want to prove something,” Doherty said. 

It shows in the team’s play style. Iowa has been scrappy to start the year, something that both Doherty and Roling take pride in. 

“We all like to have fun,” Otto said. “But when it comes to the game, we all work our butts off to get the ball and win it back”

Virginia vacation

Iowa faces a tough opponent on Thursday in the 12th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

The Cavaliers made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament last year, losing to the to-be champion UCLA Bruins. The Cavaliers have opened up this season with a 5-0-1 record with the lone draw coming against the Michigan Wolverines. 

“Obviously, we’re considered the underdog,” Otto said. “We’re going to go out there and compete and still press, and I think we can keep up with them and score a couple of goals.”

After that matchup, Iowa will travel two hours north to Fairfax, Virginia, to take on a weaker George Mason team on Sunday. 

The Patriots won only one game last year and haven’t started this season well, winless through six contests. 

The Hawkeyes hope to end their non-conference play on a high note ahead of their Big Ten opener against Illinois at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex on Sept. 17.

Sophomore forward Shae Doherty said the team is taking the final non-conference games to “fine tune” areas of improvement in their play and continue to implement tweaks that have worked this year so they can compete against the top teams in the conference. 

“I think we’re overlooked a lot,” Roling said. “Getting our name out there and representing ourselves well is something that we want to continue to do before the Big Ten [competition] starts.”

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About the Contributors
Isaac Elzinga
Isaac Elzinga, Sports Reporter
Isaac Elzinga is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass communication. This is his first year working at The Daily Iowan; he also works as a producer for 1600 ESPN a sports radio station in Cedar Rapids.
Sara Stumpff
Sara Stumpff, Photojournalist
Sara is a third year UI student who transfered from Kirkwood. She is a "non traditional" student who will hopefully obtain her BFA in Photography and BA in Spanish.