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Iowa soccer heads to Lincoln

BY BEN WOLFSON | OCTOBER 20, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa soccer team suffered a 4-0 loss at Penn State on Sunday, but the Hawkeyes aren't discouraged or intimidated as they travel to Nebraska tonight.

"[The Cornhuskers] have some good players up top," junior midfielder Dana Dalrymple said. "I have a lot of confidence in our defense, however, and I think we can shut them out."

Part of that confidence comes from a relatively quick turnaround since playing in Pennsylvania just a few days ago. The Nebraska game is the last in a series of three-straight road matches since Oct. 14 for Iowa (11-3-2, 3-3-2 Big Ten). While the players have only been in Iowa City for about two days in the past week, they say they are mentally ready and fresh to take on Nebraska (6-8-1, 3-5-0).

"It's a quick turnaround from a standpoint of getting on the road again," head coach Ron Rainey said. "I think it's good for the team. We want to improve upon that performance of the second half at State College."

The Black and Gold surrendered three goals in the second half in a 4-0 rout at the hands of the No. 14 Nittany Lions, marking Iowa's worst defeat of the season.

The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Hawkeyes, though, as they face a Cornhusker team that defeated a tough Ohio State squad in Columbus on Sunday.

Nebraska's record indicates the team has struggled this year after going 13-7-1 in 2010. But the Huskers have also faced three ranked schools, losing close games to No. 8 North Carolina and No. 3 Wake Forest and beating then-No. 25 Virginia Tech in double overtime.

Nebraska and 17th-year head coach John Walker may not have the record they want, but they do boast a potent offensive attack. In a two-game period earlier this season, the Huskers outscored opponents Arkansas and Northern Arizona, 14-1.

Leading the attack is junior forward Megan Marlborough; the Lee's Summit, Mo., native is an offensive threat every time she touches the ball. She leads the Big Ten in shots and shots per game with 82 and 5.47, respectively.

The junior has recorded 18 goals and five assists for an offense that has 38 goals.

The attack of the Huskers is multidimensional, with such players as sophomore Stacy Bartels and junior Jordan Jackson providing plenty of offense. Bartels has five goals on the year, and Jackson has found the net seven times.

"Nebraska is not just Megan Marlborough," Rainey said. "They have Jordan Jackson up top, Bartels out wide — the list just goes on. This team can hurt you in so many ways, and we have to be ready for not just one player but for the whole team."

Iowa was prepared to face a similarly dangerous offensive team in Penn State, and despite the embarrassing loss, the Hawkeyes believe they learned from defending the Lions' Maya Hayes. They will try to use similar tactics to thwart the Huskers attack, Dalrymple said.

The series has gone back-and-forth of late. Rainey's squad played Nebraska in a nonconference matchup last year in Lincoln, and suffered a 3-1 loss; the two teams clashed again in the spring exhibition season, and Iowa came out with a 1-0 win.

"They were a very good team [last year]," junior defender Kat Lewis said. "We have to play well to keep up with them, and that won't be any different this time around. What we need to work on is our defensive shape and keeping the ball. We need to focus on us and not get psyched out by them."


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