|

Soccer to take on Badgers

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | OCTOBER 02, 2009 7:20 AM

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

As the Iowa soccer team prepares to rejoin Big Ten play this weekend, the conference portion of the schedule presents a different challenge for two of the team’s classes.

The Hawkeyes (8-3, 0-1) will face Wisconsin in a Big Ten Network match at the Iowa Soccer Complex on at 1 p.m. Oct. 4.

The senior class has experienced what midfielder Jackie Kaeding calls a “transformation” of the program during the years it has spent in Iowa City.

While Iowa certainly isn’t looking more than one game at a time, Kaeding, a fifth-year senior, described how she would feel if the team was able to win a conference championship and earn the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament invitation.

“It would be amazing,” she said. “I think it would be such a great way to go out. Just the fact that our team is so much better than five years ago, and I’ve been able to see all that. To finish up with good record in the Big Ten or making it to the NCAA Tournament, that would be the proof right there.”

The Hawkeyes already made history once this season with their school-record 8-3 start, but they’re greedy for something larger.

Five years ago, playing in the postseason was an afterthought for the team. Now, it’s a distinct possibility, one that true senior Alex Seydel was giddy just thinking about.

“I think that would be absolutely unbelievable,” she said. “Of course, that’s our No. 1 goal, to finish as high as we can in the Big Ten and, hopefully, that would get us into the NCAA Tournament. It would literally make my entire year.”

Seydel has witnessed the makeover in her three-and-a-half years as a Hawkeye. She was part of fourth-year head coach Ron Rainey’s first class at Iowa.

The midfielder has started every match in her career (71). Her class has seen the number of wins increase in each season, from six to eight to nine last year.

“Especially because we’ve gotten better each year, creating that type of foundation and seeing those results in the end would be amazingly satisfying,” Seydel said.

Five freshmen regularly contribute in Iowa’s lineup, and they will go through their first Big Ten season. Kaeding said she was glad to see their eagerness to step up the level of competition.

“You can just see it in their eyes how excited they are,” Kaeding said. “They know how big a deal conference is. It’s not high school anymore. It’s a big adjustment, but that’s the reason they’re here. They’re good players. It’s good for them to be nervous because it means they’re ready.”

Iowa assistant coach Eileen Narcotta saw some things against Minnesota that the newcomers can improve upon for Wisconsin and the rest of the schedule.

“What we played against Minnesota is what we’re going to see every game. They know what they have to do,” Narcotta said. “They know that they have to do better under pressure, play quicker, and be more accurate with their passes. We know defensively that we have to watch the ball and support each other.”

So far, the mix of veteran leadership and fresh talent has worked well for the Hawkeyes. Iowa players and coaches couldn’t have predicted the successful start it had, but the team knew during the preseason that there was potential for this to be a special group.

“I think we as coaches knew the talent we had coming in and the talent that was here,” Narcotta said. “We felt that this was where we should be. At 8-3, we could have easily come out 11-0. We could have come out on the other end at 3-8. In the first 11 games, I don’t think we did anything on luck. I think we’re primed and ready to go for the Big Ten.”


> Share your thoughts! Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.


comments powered by Disqus
Daily Iowan Advertising
Today's Display Ads | Today's Classifieds | Advertising Info



Follow the DI through:

Sponsored Links  
   
T-Shirt Design  
Insurance Leads Charlotte Web Design
Health Insurance Leads Home Equity Loans
Home Service Guides  
Life Insurance DMI Furniture
Custom Magnets Buy a text ad

TODAY'S PRINT EDITION



 
Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.