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Iowa soccer heads to Madison for season final

BY BEN WOLFSON | OCTOBER 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa soccer team finished last in the Big Ten in 2010, with a record of (8-9-3, 1-7-2). The Hawkeyes didn't make the conference tournament.

Iowa hasn't made a Big Ten Tournament since 2008, and that was only because the Hawkeyes were hosting the event. Under current league rules, the host school joins the top seven teams in the conference standings in the tournament field — so even though Northwestern is dead-last in the standings, the Wildcats will still compete in the event in Evanston, Ill., on Nov. 2-6.

Iowa will likely break its streak of not making the postseason this year. The Hawkeyes head into their final game of the regular season against Wisconsin on Saturday searching for their 13th win, fifth in conference games. They're tied for fifth place in the league.

"This year's team has done a nice job accepting roles and then doing well within those roles," head coach Ron Rainey said. "The team has done a very good job coming out and not worrying about who gets the credit."

The team has experienced its ups and downs this year, but with a record of 12-4-2 (4-4-2 Big Ten), one thing has been constant throughout the fall season: The team's mantra.

Each member of the team writes WUBT on her left wrist before each game. The letters stand for "Will You Be There," which has been the team's slogan this year.

Senior Morgan Showalter attributed the motto to the team's love of Michael Jackson and his presence on their warm-up CDs.

"One day, we were in the car talking about how we wanted our team to be different this year," Showalter said. "Last year, we had a little problem with being segregated. We wanted to be a team of 27 [players]. It became, 'Are you going to be there, or you going to back someone up?' "

"During the game, if something happens, you can always look down on it and know that everyone else has that exact same thought in her head."

Will You Be There has influenced how the team thinks and prepares for each game.

"In games you all have each other's backs; you're never alone," senior midfielder Alyssa Cosnek said. "If someone makes a mistake, someone will be behind you to pick up that mistake. We all work through each other."

Iowa is coming off its most complete game of the season, a 6-1 victory over Northwestern on Oct. 23, and Showalter said she hopes the confidence from that win will carry over to the showdown with the third-seeded Badgers (10-5-3, 5-2-3).

"The chances we scored [against Northwestern] weren't easy gimme goals," Showalter said. "Leah [DeMoss] worked extremely hard in the box [to score twice], and people were just doing their jobs."

And despite the Badgers' higher Big Ten ranking and offensive firepower (they have outscored opponents 27-16), Rainey said his Hawkeyes aren't going to be intimidated. Wisconsin is just another step on the road to a higher goal, he said.

"Our team feels they can play with a lot of teams in the Big Ten," Rainey said. "I think it'd be great [to go to the Big Ten Tournament], but our ultimate goal as a program should be to go to the NCAA Tournament."


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