Iowa soccer will say farewell to polarizing careers

BY TOM CLOS | OCTOBER 25, 2012 6:30 AM

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Amid all the disappointing finishes over the last month, and with its season on the brink, the Iowa soccer team will take a moment to honor its group of departing upperclassmen Saturday.

The careers of forward Stefani Campbell, midfielder Allie Adam, and defensemen Dana Dalrymple, Jade Grimm ,and Katherine Lewis will be showcased prior to what may potentially be the biggest match of 2012 when the Hawkeyes host their annual Senior Day against Wisconsin.

“It’s always a fun day, and there’s always a lot of emotion on senior day,” Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said. “But, a lot of emotion in a good way; the last home game is always exciting for the team.”

The crew has been through a polarizing tenure to say the least. When the five arrived on campus, the program was mired in irrelevancy and a 9-11-1 season. The next two years weren’t much better — the Hawkeyes went a combined 18-20-3 in 2009-10.

Numbers aside, the current seniors laid the foundation for a program that was on the rise. The 24 months saw an upgrade of talent on the roster as a whole, a hungrier attitude on both ends of the field and subsequently, better results.

The veterans helped the program reach new heights, posting the best year in school history in 2011 followed by another strong campaign this season. The group has gone 24-9-6 as upperclassmen with one game to play.

“This senior group has been great; they’ll have had two seasons where they were above .500,” Rainey said. “We’ve had 24 wins over the past few years and a lot of that is due to how juniors and seniors lead and help with the team.”

Dalrymple chooses to remember those down years more as a teaching tool, as opposed to a sore spot of her playing days.

“You usually need to experience through the struggles if you want to be successful,” she said earlier this month. “It makes having good seasons the last two years even sweeter.”

The Cincinnati native continued that her underclassmen time helped shape her and the rest of the veterans on the team into being appreciative of the good fortunes the last two years have provided.

“We aren’t taking anything for granted because my freshman and sophomore years were not the best of seasons,” Dalrymple said. “But last season was successful and this season we wanted to do the same thing so we’ve just wanted to take each game one at a time.”

Lewis agreed with her fellow defender and noted how much the group has relished the experience and opportunity of helping turn around an athletic program at a major university.

“Seasons like this one and last year mean a lot, especially to us upperclassmen,” Lewis said. “We’ve been through the losing streaks and we thrive off of trying to turn the program in the right direction.”

Lewis’ head coach concurred that the class’ impact has been felt on the transformation of Iowa soccer. He pointed out how the state of the program has excelled from when he arrived in 2004 to the present day.

“Seven years in here, there are certain things that we have done excellent as a program and some we want to get better with.,” Rainey said. “But our sophomore class has never had a losing season, so this senior group has certainly helped us move along.”

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