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 Cinderella run continues, advances to Big Ten Championship

The Hawkeyes defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions, 1-0, in overtime in the conference semifinals.
Lua Rasga
Iowa forward Kelli Mcgroarty heads the ball and scores a goal during a soccer match between Iowa and Maryland at the Soccer Complex in Iowa City on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeat the Terrapins, 5-0.

The Iowa women’s soccer team continued its Cinderella run with another upset in the Big Ten Tournament. 

This time, the Hawkeyes knocked off No. 5 Penn State, 1-0, in overtime, to earn a berth to the Big Ten Tournament Championship. 

The game was played at field in Columbus, Ohio. 

Veteran midfielder Kelli McGroarty once again came up clutch for the Hawkeyes, scoring the winning goal in the first overtime period. 

McGroarty also scored the game-tying goal in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament against Michigan State.

“[McGroarty] is just a winner,” head coach Dave DiIanni told Hawkeye Sports. “She is a goal-scorer. She finds herself in the box and good things happen. She is starting to figure out how to play at the Big Ten level, and we are really proud of her.”

It is Iowa’s first win over a top-five opponent since defeating Penn State in the 2020-21 Big Ten Tournament semifinal.

Match recap

The Hawkeyes were the aggressors during the match, earning more shots and shots on goal. 

In the opening minutes of the first half, Penn State found several chances and held possession, but once Iowa switched formations from a four-back to a three-back, the Hawkeyes dominated possession by outnumbering the Nittany Lions in the midfield. 

Penn State struggled to deal with Iowa’s high press, as any time the Nittany Lions had possession,  the Hawkeyes would collapse and suffocate the player on the ball. 

Iowa stayed aggressive in attack in the second half. As the game continued, Penn State adjusted to the Hawkeyes’ attack and earned some scoring opportunities. But the Iowa defense always managed to track back and halt the Nittany Lions’ attack. 

In the closing minutes of regulation, both teams opened up defensively as they sent numbers forward hoping to find a match-winner. Both McGroarty and fourth-year Josie Durr came close to a match-winner before time expired. .

In the overtime period, the Hawkeyes once again found their rhythm and had success in attack.

Iowa finally broke through in the 95th minute after McGroarty scored off the rebound of a shot by rookie midfielder Sofia Bush. 

With no more golden goal rule, the Hawkeyes had to hold on to their lead for 15 more minutes for a championship berth. 

In the closing seconds of the match, Penn State won a free kick on the left wing and sent every player forward into Iowa’s penalty box, hoping to find an equalizer.

But the Hawkeyes remained calm and stopped the Nittany Lions’ last-ditch efforts to win the match.

“We just were trying to get them to believe that they can play with anybody. It wasn’t pretty the entire time, but I thought they played with great resilience and fight, similar to last weekend when we played Michigan State,” DiIanni said. “We have got our flaws, but we are going to fight. We are going to scrap. You are going to have to go for 90 minutes if you are going to beat us. Penn State is a great team. It went right down to the wire.”

Deja vu

This year’s Big Ten Tournament run is eerily similar to Iowa’s run in the 2020-21 tournament. Then, the Hawkeyes qualified as one of the bottom seeds and beat Penn State 1-0 in the semifinals before beating Wisconsin 1-0 in the title match. 

Iowa will play Wisconsin for the Big Ten Tournament Championship on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, at 1 p.m. 

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About the Contributors
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.
Lua Rasga, Photojournalist
Lua Rasga is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Cinematic Arts. She’s a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan. She comes from Sao Paulo, Brazil with previous experience in filmmaking.