Iowa soccer youthful, but still veteran-led
It’s safe to say the Iowa women’s soccer team is a full-fledged youth movement.
Whether its sophomore forward Cloe Lacasse and her rise to becoming one of the Big Ten’s most talented players or the dynamic freshman goaltending duo of Hannah Clark and Meg Goodson closing in on the school record for most shutouts in a season, the Hawkeyes have young talent.
But the Hawkeye roster does have six seniors, and they’ve had an intangible impact on this season’s 11-1-2 start.
No class in program history has gone through as many ups and downs as the one of 2013. They experienced the tail end of a dormant era at Iowa, followed by the last two seasons, which has seen the Hawkeyes rise to relevancy.
The group should naturally garner attention while they play out the last few weeks of their Iowa careers, but instead have assumed a more hushed role on a squad attempting to capture the school’s first-ever Big Ten title.
“We have taken the on and off the field leadership role of this team,” senior defenseman Katherine Lewis said. “We’ve tried to set examples for the younger players so they know what we as seniors expect out of them and what will be expected of them throughout their careers.”
Lewis is one of three seniors who have started all 14 of Iowa’s contests this season, along with defenseman Jade Grimm and Dana Dalrymple. The trio of defensemen has notched 20 points, 7 goals and 6 assists combined.
Dalrymple has gotten the most attention of the conglomerate, posting 13 points on 5 goals and 3 assists, good for the third-highest offensive output on the roster behind Lacasse and junior forward Ashley Catrell.
But Cincinnati native Dalrymple insisted that even though the statistics may suggest otherwise, the sustainability of the team is just as dependent upon her class as the underclassmen.
“We have some standout younger players who have done a good job and have received most of the publicity, but we definitely haven’t taken a backseat them,” Dalrymple said. “We’re doing just as much as anybody else on this team.”
Iowa head coach Ron Rainey was with the seniors through the 2009-10 seasons when the Black and Gold went 18-20-3 overall. He said those two seasons helped his seniors grow up and become better all-around athletes, especially in situations where they faltered as underclassmen.
“Thinking back to their first two seasons and fast-forwarding to this one, when a big play has needed to be made … these seniors have done it many times,” Rainey said. “Whether it’s been defensively, on a re-start, or simply keeping possession on a pass to change the rhythm of a game, they’ve been getting the job done.”
Dalrymple said she and her compatriots have turned those lean years into a teaching lesson for their younger disciples.
“My freshman and sophomore years weren’t the best of seasons; we didn’t finish the way we had hoped,” she said. “And now that we’ve had some success the last two seasons, we’re trying to show the freshmen and sophomores that you can’t take anything for granted throughout your time here.”
Lewis will never forget the losing that plagued the start of her time in Iowa City. But rather than seek the limelight during her farewell tour, the Cedar Rapids native decided that she simply wanted to make sure the program never returned to the state it was in when she set foot on campus.
“It’s not really about being in the spotlight for us,” Lewis said. “If we get a win, the whole team wins, no matter who plays.”
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