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 sets new attendance during first round of NCAA Tournament

The Hawkeyes shattered the previous record by almost 800 people in the 2-0 victory against Bucknell.
Henry Tran
The University of Iowa’s soccer team celebrates a goal in the first round game of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament against Bucknell University on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. The game was hosted at the University of Iowa Soccer Complex. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bison, 2-0.

The Iowa women’s soccer team hosted its first NCAA Tournament match in program history on Nov. 10 and defeated the Bucknell Bison, 2-0.

The Hawkeyes were not expecting to have a home matchup in the NCAA Tournament this season. There were questions on whether the team would even qualify for the NCAA Tournament, but after a historic run in the Big Ten Championships where the Hawkeyes became the first eight-seed to take home the title, Iowa earned an automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament.

“I’m a bit embarrassed because when we played Maryland at home in what we thought was our last home game, I was the first one crying like a baby,” fifth-year defender Samantha Cary said ahead of the match with Bucknell. “That place and that field just means so much to all of us. It’s our home, it’s our foundation, and to be able to play one more game on that field and to be able to cherish every moment and bring the NCAA Tournament through Iowa City is an honor.”

Senior goalkeeper Macy Enneking said hosting an NCAA Tournament game is a big step for the program and a great opportunity to showcase what the team can do for fans who may not pay much attention to Iowa soccer.

“I think it’s just incredible to have the ability to extend into the postseason in general,” veteran midfielder Josie Durr said. “To get into a place where we can have a home game on top of that is pretty awesome. I think the crowd showing out also just took it up to the next level. It really puts into perspective how much these games mean to our program.”

The Hawkeye faithful showed up for the historic night in Iowa City with 2,639 people in attendance. That shattered the previous attendance record of 1,847 set in 2015 against Ohio State.

“I’ve never played in front of that many people. It was a little nerve-wracking at first,” third-year forward Elle Otto said. “But once you get into the game, it all worked out, and [the crowd] really helped with all their cheers and everything. It was awesome, and I love the Hawkeye nation.”

Bucknell head coach Kelly Cook even noted the atmosphere in Iowa City after the game. She described it as a “first-class NCAA experience.” She said she loved the crowd and that it was a fantastic experience for her team.

“That’s the Hawkeye community,” Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said following the win. “I said to our kids yesterday, I didn’t have a deep appreciation for it before I got the job here. But everybody supports one another in the athletic department and the community of Iowa City.”

Hosting an NCAA Tournament match is proof of the growth the program has experienced under DiIanni.

Before coach DiIanni’s arrival in Iowa City in 2014, the Hawkeyes had only qualified for the NCAA Tournament once in their history. Since then, Iowa has won two Big Ten Tournament titles and qualified for the NCAA Tournament three times.

“I think our coaches are so consistent throughout the entire season that it kind of helps us when it comes to those more stressful playoff games,” Enneking said. “[DiIanni’s] steady belief in us that we are the better team than whoever we’re playing really helps when it comes to overall pressure and mentality. He talks about the postseason as what we’ve been training for, so why not show what we’ve learned and what we’re able to do and showcase our talents.”

DiIanni and his staff have also received backing from an athletic department that puts women’s sports in the limelight.

“We are so supported, our athletic department really pushed and helped us be at the forefront,” Cary said. “It’s everyone behind the scenes, and I mean our support staff is absolutely unreal. In a world where women’s sports aren’t always supported, it’s incredible that Iowa City is a special place where it is.”

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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.
Henry Tran
Henry Tran, Graphic Designer & Photojournalist
Henry is a third-year student at The University of Iowa majoring in 3D design.