Iowa soccer’s season ends at Big Ten tournament

BY TOM CLOS | NOVEMBER 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa soccer team’s up-and-down season came to a fitting conclusion thanks to Penn State goaltender Erin McNulty.

The Hawkeyes ripped off 33 shots, 14 of which hit the net, but were unable to solve the Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada, native in a 2-0 loss to the No. 4 Nittany Lions in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Ind., on Wednesday.

“It seemed like no matter who was on the field for [Penn State], we were still able to generate opportunities,” Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said. “[McNulty] just did a nice job with them.”

Iowa entered the tournament as the last seed of the eight-team field but didn’t look like it against the regular-season conference champions.

The Hawkeye attackers pressured the Penn State defense throughout the first half, peppering McNulty nine times on 14 attempts, but the graduate student rose to the occasion each time.

“We did a good job getting shots,” junior midfielder Alex Melin said. “They just weren’t falling.”

The Nittany Lion attack conversely pulled off only a pair of shots on freshman goaltender Meg Goodson, but Penn State sophomore midfielder Emily Hurd beat the rookie keeper from inside the box at 17:22 to put her team up early.

“It would have been great if we could’ve gotten one to either tie it up through the first 60 minutes or make it a 1-goal game in the last 30,” Rainey said. ““If we were to play this game over, we’d probably want to put a few more people in the box for rebounds and other options.”

Iowa continued its assault in the second frame, tacking on another 19 shots, including 5 on goal.

McNulty was true to form once again however, and Penn State senior midfielder Maddy Evans delivered the death blow with a second-goal in the 60th minute on a header past freshman goaltender Hannah Clark.

“We had some quality chances, and they had some quality chances,” Rainey said. “They were just able to finish on a couple of theirs.”

The Nittany Lions now advance to face Illinois in Friday’s semifinals.

The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, enter another off-season that seems far too soon for most around the program.

“I’m proud of our team’s performance today, but this one definitely hurts,” senior midfielder Dana Dalrymple said. “It’s really tough. We were right there.”

Dalrymple was one of six seniors who defended the Black and Gold for the final time in their careers Wednesday.

“It’s just a hard feeling knowing it was my last collegiate game,” Dalrymple said. “I won’t be able to step on the field again with this team.”

McNulty had a prominent career at Florida State where she finished second in all-time victories. She’s made her mark in Happy Valley as well in backstopping the Nittany Lions to back-to-back conference titles.

And now, thanks to a memorable performance that ended the Hawkeyes’ season prematurely — McNulty’s 14 stops were one shy of the program record for saves in a single game — she’ll be remembered for at least an off-season in Iowa City.

“Their goalkeeper had a really good day,” Rainey said. “And that was kind of that.”

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