Soccer bounces after comeback


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Going into their last two home matches of their careers, the seven seniors on the Iowa soccer team prepared themselves for an emotional roller coaster.

They definitely rode one over the weekend, which paralleled the entire 2009 season.

The Hawkeyes (9-10, 1-9) booked their first Big Ten win of the season, over Michigan, 2-1, on Oct. 30 during Senior Night. On the field of the Iowa Soccer Complex, players celebrated the much-needed win — the first since Sept. 30, and the first at home in 40 days.

“It feels insanely awesome,” Alex Seydel said after the victory. “We’ve needed this for a long time.”

Iowa began the season with a program-best 8-2 start but then went on a six-match losing streak in conference play. Sophomore Morgan Showalter, who scored the game-deciding goal against Michigan, expressed how badly the team wanted to win for its upperclassmen.

“It feels great, especially on senior night,” she said. “These seniors have worked so hard to prepare our team in practice and push us in games. It was great to come out and get a win for them.”

However, the jubilation felt on Oct. 30 turned into sorrow on Sunday after Iowa’s comeback effort fell short against Michigan State, 3-2. Down 2-0, the Hawkeyes clawed back to tie the game, but a Spartan header three minutes into extra time ended all hopes of an undefeated weekend.

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For Iowa, 0-3 in overtime matches this season, it seemed like a broken record playing the same sad song again.

“This one bites a little bit more,” Seydel said, doing her best to control her emotions. “Our last home game as seniors … coming into an overtime like that … it was a good goal, credit to them. You just wish you would’ve had that one back a little.”

In a fast-paced match, Michigan State began the scoring with a goal at 22-minute mark. Iowa goalkeeper Emily Moran made eight saves but couldn’t stop the shot that sailed just over her reach.

The Spartans recorded their second goal in the 39th minute.

Then, the Hawkeye resurgence began in the 42nd minute. Junior Keli McLaughlin found the left side of the net for a goal that was assisted by sophomore Showalter. McLaughlin also set up Iowa’s second goal by making a nifty crossover move and having her shot deflect of a Spartan defender for a handball.

Seydel converted the penalty kick to even the score at 2-2.

Senior Jackie Kaeding said she was proud of her teammates for fighting back, but the loss was hard to take after exerting so much effort.

“We had a pretty bad first half, so just the fact that we battled back is a credit to us,” Kaeding said with blurry eyes. “We knew that the score didn’t really reflect — I thought it was an even match. We came back with a lot of momentum in the second half.”

Of the Hawkeyes’ 10 losses, seven have been decided by one goal. Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said he “loved” how his team came back, especially doing so against a Big Ten opponent. Seydel said the struggles from close calls this season will only help the team in the future, after her and the other six seniors have departed.

“I think we’ve had some balls not bounce our way,” she said. “At the same time, we need to step up our game another level when we come out into an overtime. We don’t always do that. If we get into the same situation, we’ll be better next week, and the team will be better next year at it.”

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