Soccer opens spring season with blowout win


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The Iowa soccer team got off to a hot start in its spring season-opener by thrashing Drake, 6-0, on Sunday in the Bubble.

Six different Hawkeyes scored in the exhibition, and the goals came in bunches. Iowa found the net three times in a four-minute stretch in the second period and buried another two in four minutes in the third period.

The offensive explosion was welcome for the Hawkeyes, who struggled to score at all in the second half of their fall season. Iowa finished at the bottom of the Big Ten, and it was shut out four times in its last 12 games, a stretch in which the team won just one match.

While spring games don’t count for anything, head coach Ron Rainey said he saw improvement in the win.

“Our mentality was pretty good the whole day, and that was nice to see,” he said. “Sometimes, that’s hard … But for 90 minutes, I thought people were playing hard — from the opening whistle until the end.”

The effort showed. The Bulldogs put up as much fight as a scared poodle, and the Hawkeyes controlled the ball for the vast majority of the game. Only a handful of fingertip saves by Drake goalkeeper Kalena Litch kept Iowa’s goal total in single digits.

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Sophomore Dana Dalrymple ignited the scoring explosion when she slipped a shot past Litch in the 18th minute. Ashley Catrell, Leah DeMoss, and Alyssa Cosnek followed suit soon thereafter, each scoring within minutes of each other early in the second period. DeMoss’ goal was particularly impressive — the freshman sent a screamer into the top corner from 30 yards out in the 45th minute.

The action continued in the third period. Junior Morgan Showalter scored on a free kick two minutes into the period, and sophomore Jade Grimm capped the day when she beat Litch four minutes later.

Some Hawkeyes weren’t satisfied with the six goals, though. Dalrymple said the bunching of the goals means the offense needs to run more smoothly and consistently in future matches.

“The forwards and midfielders [need to] combine together,” the midfielder said. “A couple times, we had some good ideas up top that weren’t executed — maybe a pass didn’t get through, or we didn’t play it crisply enough.”

While the offense still needs some fine-tuning, the Iowa defense was superb. Two of the Hawkeyes’ starting defenders from last season have graduated and another was unavailable because of an injury, but the three-deep lines Rainey cobbled together were enough to thwart any chance Drake had of threatening the goal.

Six Hawkeyes rotated into the back line and kept goalkeeper Emily Moran from facing a legitimate shot all afternoon. Moran said her quiet day was a testament to the team’s willingness to play defense by committee.

“We had a lot of people go into the back and play different positions [from what they’re used to],” the junior said. “We’ve been training really hard to be able to interchange people in different positions and have that work. It went well today — they all talked and worked together well.”

Even though the offense scored six times and the defense was airtight, Rainey said his team has a long ways to go.

“We need to work on a ton of things — just like every team in the spring,” the coach said. “Our possession in the attacking third has to get better, [and we have to] be a little cleaner when we have crosses and runs in the box … But this was a good start to the spring. Definitely happy with how the spring has started.”

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