Iowa soccer out to best start in program history

BY TOM CLOS | SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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Junior forward Ashley Catrell scored twice, and the Iowa women’s soccer team won its 18th-straight nonconference match with a 3-0 victory over St. Louis at Hermann Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday.

The victory improved the Hawkeyes to 9-0-0 and clinched the best start to a season in program history, surpassing the 2011 team’s 8-0-0 mark. The win also ensured that the Black and Gold will open Big Ten play undefeated for the second-consecutive season.

“There were some good sequences we capitalized on and good ones we had defensively,” Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said. “I was excited with our team, and it was a good result for us in our last nonconference game.”

A lack of production from players not named Cloe Lacasse has plagued the team for the last year and a half. It has been one of the few areas of concern facing Iowa amid its flawless record, but Catrell quelled those fears against the Billikens.

“Both of my goals were similar tonight,” Catrell said. “Cloe dribbled past the defense, and I found myself open in front of the net and one-touched it in.”

The Overland Park, Kan., native has now hit the back of the net seven times in 2012, four behind Lacasse, who scored her 11th of the season on Wednesday.

Lacasse also assisted on both of Catrell’s goals and has scored in every match in 2012.

“Lately, our wingers have been cutting in and creating one-versus-ones, which has become sort of a trademark of ours,” Lacasse said. “It’s been working for us, so we might as well keep doing it.”

Catrell believes that it was imperative that her and her teammates took some of the pressure off of Lacasse’s shoulders. She said relying on one player to do everything won’t add up to many wins in conference play.

“It’s very important that we don’t start having to rely on Cloe to score in every game,” Catrell said. “It’s hard for her to do that, so it’s important for us to have more opportunities and more people that can help score out there.”

Rainey continued the goalkeeper shuffle in St. Louis, and freshmen Hannah Clark and Meg Goodson combined for the 10-save shutout. Rainey felt that his goalies were sharp in turning back the strong charge the Billikens presented and iterated his plans in net.

“Right up until the last minute, we had to clear a ball at the line to preserve the shutout,” Rainey said. “And as of right now, the rotation will continue.”

The victory concluded a stretch where Iowa played three road games in six days, which Rainey sensed was beginning to wear on his group at the tail end of the second half.

“Both teams were fatigued today. [St. Louis] was going through a similar stretch as well,” Rainey said. “But with a 3-goal lead, we did have players making plays right up until the last minute.”

The Hawkeyes haven’t lost an out-of-conference match since Sept. 19, 2010, and the win Wednesday ensured the streak of surviving at least until 2013.

“Some of those [nonconference] games have been fairly equal matchups, and we’ve been able to win those 1-goal games,” Rainey said. “Also, some of the games we are supposed to win, and we have been. We haven’t taken any opponents for granted, and in turn, we’ve been able to get those [nonconference] wins.”

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