Iowa soccer heads to Michigan for a pair of conference matches

BY TOM CLOS | SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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The 2011 Iowa women’s soccer team was historic. They jumped out to the best start in program history and finished with a winning record in conference play for the first time since 1999.

Then it abruptly ended on a dark day in Evanston, Ill.

The Hawkeyes couldn’t find the back of the net for 110 minutes and were defeated by Michigan State, 0-0 (4-3) in penalty kicks in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, ending what the team had hoped would be the first conference title run in school history. It was a memorable and accomplished year, but it ended with a heartbreaking loss the players who remain from that squad haven’t forgotten.

This weekend provides an opportunity for some healing — Iowa will meet the Spartans on Sept. 30. It will be the first time the sides will have met since that thrilling match in November 2011.

“There’s definitely going to be some of that bitterness when we meet Michigan State on Sunday,” senior Dana Dalrymple said. “It’s still a little bit fresh.”

Sophomore forward Cloe Lacasse missed on the final attempt in the shootout a year ago to end the Hawkeyes season. The native of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, will never forget the opportunity she had to tie that match, but she said that the only way to get past the disappointment is to simply move on.

“Of course, I’ll always remember,” she said. “The key is to get over it, and just keep going, and forget about stuff like that.”

Darymple said the sting from last season’s unceremonious ending was still lingering, but she pointed out that Hawks won’t meet the same group that beat them last fall.

“It is a new year and a new season, so we do have to put [last year’s match] in the past somewhat,” she said. “We also must realize that they are a new team, one we haven’t seen this season.”

Before Iowa (11-1-0, 2-1-0 Big Ten) gets to see this year’s Spartans, the Black & Gold must first get past Michigan State’s in-state rivals when they visit Michigan today in Ann Arbor.

The Wolverines (9-2-0, 3-0-0), who sit atop the Big Ten standings, have won five-straight games, including a 3-0 victory over Wisconsin last week.

“Michigan is very good, both athletically and tactically,” Iowa coach Ron Rainey said. “They’re unbeaten and have done a great job against some tough opponents in our league.”

Michigan State (7-3-1, 1-2-0) hasn’t had a goal in three matches, the dry spell dating back to Sept. 16. The Spartans will host Nebraska today.

“We’ve got to focus on traveling well, and it’ll be a quick turnaround heading into Michigan State,” Rainey said

Lacasse played down whether the Michigan State match will carry extra weight when the teams hit the pitch this weekend. The super sophomore did, however, admit that the game will forever be engrained into the memory banks of those involved.

“It doesn’t matter who it is; we always want to come out with a win,” she said. “But, for sure, everyone remembers it.”

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