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Soccer sends seniors off in style

BY SETH ROBERTS | NOVEMBER 08, 2010 7:20 AM

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It took all season, but the Iowa soccer team finally got a win in conference play.

The Hawkeyes (8-9-3, 1-7-2) scored three unanswered goals to shock Purdue (6-12-3, 2-7-1) on Nov. 6 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The emotional 3-2 win was Iowa's first since Sept. 17 and its first Big Ten victory in more than a year.

Freshman Ashley Catrell provided the winning goal in the 82nd minute by beating Purdue defender Tayler Francel and putting away what head coach Ron Rainey called "one of the better finishes of the year."

The team wouldn't have been in position to win had it not been for junior Morgan Showalter. The midfielder from Cedar Rapids punished the Boilermakers for conceding five corner kicks in under five minutes by picking up a pair of assists to tie the game.

The goals were essentially identical — Showalter blasted the ball to the back post for Rachel Blakesley and Alex Melin to knock into the net — and Rainey said the play was specifically designed to attack Purdue's weak spots.

"We saw Purdue didn't put players on the post, and they had a really tight zone," the fifth-year coach said. "That's Rachel and Alex just going and getting balls in [the net] among that zone — that was just good timing. We've been working on restarts a lot, and it was nice to see two go in today."

Things didn't start out bouncing Iowa's way. Purdue's Kellie Phillips opened the scoring in the 20th minute and later recorded an assist on the Boilermakers' second goal.

Iowa also missed a penalty kick before launching its three-goal comeback.

Showalter said the Hawkeyes weren't going to just roll over, though. The team was fresh off its first positive result in more than a month — a 1-1 draw with Michigan State on Oct. 31 — and the junior said the squad was confident it could be successful.

"There was no way we were going to go out having people think, 'Oh, they just gave up at the end of the season,' " Showalter said. "No way. We wanted to come out and show the Big Ten we can actually play here."

Hawkeye senior Keli McLaughlin embodied that attitude, and she picked up a yellow card in the 49th minute. The forward from Alsip, Ill., shoved Boilermaker Brookley Rogers after the latter knocked her down in the Purdue penalty box. The initial foul was not called, but McLaughlin's booking seemed to add fuel to her teammates' fire.

"At halftime, we were like, 'We have 45 minutes left, as this team, as this 24 [players], with these girls — we have to come together,' " McLaughlin said. "It showed that we all started playing with heart."

The heart eventually translated into a win in a game that served as a swan song for the first class Rainey recruited. Before the game, the team honored departing seniors McLaughlin, Jenna Aleo, Kali Feiereisel, Mandy Heimann, Amanda Martin, and Stephanie Swanson.

Iowa's bench stormed the field following the final whistle, but McLaughlin said she felt mixed emotions as her career drew to a close. She said her time as a Hawkeye had been "a bit more than amazing" and choked up when asked what she learned over the course of her career.

"If you put your heart into anything, you can get anything done," she said. "That's what we just proved out there."


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