Iowa soccer sets shutout record in another scoreless draw

BY TOM CLOS | OCTOBER 08, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa women’s soccer team turned in a historical performance against Minnesota on Sunday despite not scoring a goal — they didn’t allow one, either.

The Hawkeyes (11-1-3, 2-1-3) played the Golden Gophers (7-6-1, 2-3-1) to a 0-0 draw at Elizabeth Lyle Stadium in Minneapolis, extending their unbeaten streak to five games and their shutout streak to three. More importantly, the clean sheet was the squad’s 10th of the season, breaking the school record set by the 2007 and 2011 editions.

Sunday completed a three-game road trip for Iowa, its longest of the season, in which matches with Michigan, Michigan State, and Minnesota all ended in the same fashion.

“We've played three straight 0-0 matches, and each of them has been different,” Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said in a release. “We’ll keep asking for this effort on defense every time out and hopefully, create more chances on the attacking end."

Consecutive scoreless matches signal how the Hawkeyes have played well defensively as of late, but it also shows the team’s recent ineffectiveness on the attack. Iowa was overwhelmed throughout the trio of contests during the road swing, getting outshot 70-27 during the road jaunt.

The Hawkeyes managed to fire off only seven attempts on Sunday, four of which came from junior forward Ashley Catrell.

Sophomore forward Cloe Lacasse played all 110 minutes on the pitch but was held without a shot. The Hawkeyes’ leading scorer has three shots in as many games and is now pointless in her last six contests dating back to Sept. 12 at St. Louis.

The disappearance of the Black and Gold attack over the last three games has forced the freshman goaltending tandem of Hannah Clark and Meg Goodson to stop everything in their way.

Luckily for Iowa, they have.

Clark and Goodson continued their record-setting seasons with 8 more saves against the Golden Gophers, including a pair in the second-overtime to preserve the shutout and an all-important point in the conference standings.

The two have set the all-time shutout record in their first season in Iowa City, and they have five games remaining to add to the mark.

Rainey said the pair’s play in tense moments this season has lifted not only their own confidence, it has helped the rest of the roster as well.

“I think [Hannah and Meg] understand their roles right now, and they’ve had some success,” Rainey said. “They can draw confidence from how they’ve done, and I think their teammates have drawn some from them as well.”

Aiding the stellar goalkeepers has been a senior defensive corps whose members are playing perhaps the best soccer of their careers. The group was stifling in Minnesota — they held then nation’s leading goal scorer, Golden Gopher sophomore forward Taylor Uhl, without a point.

Sunday’s tie kept the Hawkeyes even with Nebraska for fifth-place in the Big Ten with 9 points through six conference games. For the team to capture the school’s first ever conference title, they will need to most likely be perfect the rest of the way and get some help, because Penn State has jumped out to a 6-0-0 start in Big Ten action, good for 18 points and first-place.

Important games will be plenty for the Hawkeyes moving forward, but that’s nothing new for the team’s veterans, who welcome the important games after beginning their career with two seasons of irrelevance.

“You have to face adversity in order to get better,” senior defenseman Dana Dalrymple said prior to Sunday’s match. “The losing has prepared some of us older girls for times like these, when the games are going to get increasingly important.”

The big games facing the Hawkeyes are sure to be tough, but as long as their goalie combo is clicking, the team knows it has a shot to beat anyone.

“It’s been a combination of the team, as well as us working hard in practice,” Goodson said before Sunday’s match. “We’ve been able to turn those strong workouts into shutouts.”

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