Hawkeye soccer goalies aim to break shutout mark at Minnesota

BY TOM CLOS | OCTOBER 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa soccer head coach Ron Rainey made what seemed to be a controversial move by refusing to select a starting goalie prior to the team’s Big Ten opener. The head Hawkeye instead chose to rotate freshman goalies Hannah Clark and Meg Goodson at halftime in each of the team’s matches.

Now, almost a month later and with the rookie duo sitting on the verge of history, it turns out the only controversy would be if Rainey ended the experiment.

Clark and Goodson have backstopped the Hawkeyes to their best record through 14 games in program history, and they have allowed only 6 goals in what has shaped up to be one of the best seasons in net in program history.

The pair is one clean sheet away from breaking the school record of 9 shutouts in a single season set in 2007, as the Hawkeyes (11-1-2, 2-1-2 Big Ten) head north for a date with Minnesota (7-6, 2-3) at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Minneapolis on Oct. 7.

The couple combined for 8 saves in Iowa’s 0-0 draw at Michigan State last weekend to bring the team shutout total to 9 on the season, tying them for the record mark with six games remaining.

“Coming in our freshman years like this, it would mean a lot to break the record,” Clark said. “We’re working hard to do good things out there, and breaking records is one of them.”

Goodson credited the defense for helping the duo produce such a memorable campaign up to this point.

“We’ve had a good dynamic with our defense this season,” Goodson said. “The shutouts have probably been a direct result of good play in net but a good team effort overall as well.”

Rainey felt the plan to start both has played out almost better than even he thought, and he noted that the two rookies have taken full advantage of a group of veterans on the back-end.

“We’ve been playing to our strengths this season, and one of those is that we make it hard for teams to score on us,” he said. “We have a veteran defensive group in front of our keepers, and the goalies have all responded really well.”

Iowa is riding a four-game unbeaten streak in which it has gone 2-0-2 following a disheartening conference opening loss to Illinois last month. Clark and Goodson allowed 2 goals that day, but they have allowed the same number over the four games since.

“Hannah and I are playing well right now,” Goodson said. “In practice, we get to compete against each other, and it’s really helped us raise our play a bit in games.”

The Golden Gophers rebounded from an 0-2 start in conference play to win two of their last three matches, but now, they hope to bounce back from a 4-3 defeat at Penn State on Sept. 30.

Rainey said Minnesota will be “one of the most athletic team[s]” the Hawkeyes have challenged this year.

Goodson, who admitted she was unaware of the history the duo is on the cusp of making, hoped the road swing would end with another shutout in the state of Minnesota, but this time with a “W” attached to it.

“I didn’t know that we were there, but I do know that if we play well, we probably will get the win, which is the ultimate goal.” Goodson said. “But, it would be pretty cool to get the record as well.”

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