Soccer lets one slip away


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If soccer games were 86 minutes long, the Iowa soccer team would have began its 2009 campaign 1-0 on Aug. 21.

Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, games are 90 minutes long.

The wheels fell off the tractor as Iowa let a 2-1 lead slip away in the last four minutes of regulation. The Hawkeyes gave up the game-winning goal with 46 seconds remaining to cap a 3-2 loss to No. 24 Missouri at the Iowa Soccer Complex.

“It’s a tough one. It stings quite a bit,” senior midfielder Alex Seydel said. “I really felt like we had them, like we played strong. We played well. We just got to be able to close out those last five minutes. We just got to work a little harder to clear those last couple balls and that kind of stuff won’t happen.”

Missouri, the reigning Big 12 champions, peppered Iowa sophomore goalkeeper Emily Moran with three-straight corner kicks that led to several shots off deflections.

Missouri’s Michelle Collins scored the equalizer, then Tiger teammate Jessie Crabtree poked in the difference maker during the final minute.

Picked to tie for 10th in the Big Ten coaches’ preseason poll, Iowa gave Missouri a run for its money, which sophomore forward Morgan Showalter said she was proud of.

“We’re all upset. We came to play hard. You could tell that we wanted it,” she said. “They happened to get a shot off, and it went in. You kind of put your head down for a second, but then you look back at the game, and you realize it wasn’t a bad game.”

Iowa started out slowly, allowing the Tigers’ Kristin Andrighetto to score in the 23rd minute. But with a crowd of more than 300 — including a quartet of male students who sported painted chests reading I-O-W-A — the Hawkeyes fed off the environment to rally back.

The momentum shifted Iowa’s way just before halftime in the 44th minute, when Seydel connected on a penalty kick that was set up by freshman forward Jade Grimm, who was tackled inside the 18-yard box.

The Hawkeyes stayed hot and added the go-ahead goal 1:27 into the second frame. This time, Showalter punched in a close-range shot with assists by freshman Dana Dalrymple and sophomore Alyssa Cosnek.

After a nearly 40-minute stalemate, the Iowa defense broke down, failing to clear the ball away from the goal and making it tough for Moran, who finished the match with five saves, to make a play in the net.

The Hawkeyes were out shot by the Tigers, 16-9, and although Iowa head coach Ron Rainey was disappointed with the outcome, he said he found a lot of positives even in defeat.

“It is tough because we came out one goal short, but these are the types of games I think that the players that come into our program want to play in,” he said. “We have to take a lesson from them. When we’re in the situation next time, we have to kill the game off.

“Overall, I’m excited about how we played against a ranked opponent. We went toe-to-toe with them and didn’t flinch, and that was exciting to see.”

The Hawkeyes lost 11 games in 2008, nine of which were by a single goal — including a 2-1 loss to the Tigers in Columbia last season.

Showalter is confident the Hawks will learn to put teams away in the future.

“No one wants to feel like this ever,” Showalter said. “I think we’ll push ourselves even beyond how we played tonight to show that we can win some close games.”

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