Showalter is Iowa soccer’s Ms. Consistency

BY BEN WOLFSON | AUGUST 31, 2011 7:20 AM

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In high school, Iowa senior Morgan Showalter helped to lead Cedar Rapids Xavier to the Class 1A state title in 2004, 2006, and 2007 and a second-place finish in 2005.

A highly decorated player, Showalter was ranked as one of the top 200 college recruits in the country by SoccerBuzz Magazine.

She ended up choosing to play college soccer at Iowa, a decision that head coach Ron Rainey said was rare at the time.

“Morgan represented somebody from Iowa who ended up coming to the University of Iowa [to play soccer],” Rainey said. “That hadn’t happened for two or three years, so it was great to have somebody from Cedar Rapids come in and represent the Hawkeyes.”

Showalter started every match as a freshman for Iowa, and she was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team as a midfielder after she led the Hawkeyes in assists (nine).

As a sophomore, she was named the Hawkeyes’ Offensive Player of the Year while starting every game. Last season as a junior, Showalter again started every game and led the team with 14 points on five goals and four assists.

To begin her senior season, Showalter’s peers chose her as team captain.

“I think the classes above me — I’ve learned a lot from,” Showalter said. “I’ve had great friends who have played a ton [or] who didn’t play a ton and just learned from them.”

Since arriving at Iowa, she has been a commanding presence on the field.

“Morgan provides that vocal presence,” senior Rachel Blakesley said. “She started doing that as a freshman, which I think provided that sense of leadership ability on and off the field.”

Showalter was a midfielder for most of her college career, until last spring, when Rainey started experimenting with her as a defender on the back line.

“We needed to shore up the back line after graduating some people who played back there,” said Rainey, whose defense lost three starters after last season. “We’re still tweaking it right now, but it’s worked out quite well so far.”

The transition appears to have helped Iowa’s defense — the Hawkeyes have given up only two goals in the first three games of the season.

“I’m an aggressive player, and that’s one of the reasons the coaches like having me in the back,” Showalter said. “[I’m] another type of defender, someone who will get up and let the outside-midfielder be almost a forward.

“I would like to think I’m playing well, but I’m still learning and there are definitely things I need to work on.”

Fellow defensive partner Blakesley has noticed.

“For rolling into that position so easily, it shows how versatile of a player [Showalter] is, how she can accept roles all over the field, and do what is best for the team no matter what position,” Blakesley said.

Besides providing stability to the defense, Showalter has another responsibility on the team as well — taking corner kicks.

“[Showalter] serves a pretty good ball from both sides [of the field]” Rainey said. “When you have somebody who can hit a ball to where you need it to be from 30 to 40 yards away, it just makes runs much easier for the attacking players when they know where the ball is going to be.”

So far in the season’s first three games, corner kicks taken by Showalter have led to two Hawkeye goals. The two assists give her 20 in her college career, tying her with Sarah Lynch (1999-2002) for the most in school history.

“I have always looked at assists as helping my team out,” Showalter said. “I don’t go into every game thinking, ‘I hope I get this [stat] this game,’ I just play the way I play and hope that I help my team out. If it’s getting assists, then that’s what I’ll do.”

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