Hawkeyes defeat Western Michigan, 3-1


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The Hawkeye soccer team earned their second win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Western Michigan on Sunday. The Hawkeyes improved to 2-0 in the young season, showcasing a strong product on the field during their home opener in the process.

The Hawkeyes struck first in the 43rd minute of the match, when a Melanie Pickert free kick from just outside the box found the left corner of the net. The free kick came about when junior Cloe Lacasse was taken down by a Bronco defender, setting up the Pickert goal.

“Right before the kick, I heard my coach say ‘just strike the middle of the ball,’ ” Pickert said. “I didn’t try to go over the ball this time, so I tried to go far side and hit it just right.” 

Western Michigan tied the score up in the 69th minute. After Iowa goalkeeper Hannah Clark made a diving stop to halt the initial scoring attempt by Western Michigan, the ball found its way to Bronco midfielder Megan Ross, who shot it past Clark.

It didn’t take long for the Hawkeyes to respond to the Bronco goal. Just five minutes, the Hawkeyes took the lead again when an Ashley Catrell corner kick was shot into the far corner by Pickert, giving the junior her second goal of the game.

“That was an excellent job from Melanie of keeping it alive on that corner and finishing from a pretty tough angle,” head coach Ron Rainey said.

The Hawkeyes all but sealed the win in the 80th minute, when senior Alex Melin was taken down midair by Bronco goalkeeper Michelle Watson. The takedown earned Watson a yellow card and the Hawkeyes a penalty kick, which Catrell scored on to give the Hawkeyes a 3-1 lead.   

“We’re in a mode that if we have a 1-goal lead we want to have the attitude of getting a second goal,” Rainey said. “Instead of defending the lead.”

The win marks the 20th-straight nonconference victory for the Hawkeyes, and while the Black and Gold put 3 shots into the net, the defense stood out to the players as well.

“We’re working a lot together, holding our shape,” Clark said. “We’re supporting each other a lot and covering for each other on long balls.”

The Hawkeyes remained the more aggressive team throughout the match. On top of outshooting the Broncos 16-11, the Hawkeyes also put 9 shots on goal compared with Western Michigan’s 4.

The match didn’t come without physical play from both sides of the ball. With both teams’ foul totals reaching the double digits, the physicality of the match ramped up as the match neared its end.

“You could see that Western Michigan was desperate to get a result, and we want to play that same way,” Rainey said. “We have to be ready for what anybody does and I thought that both games this weekend were just good college soccer games.”

Iowa has a five-day break from playing and will head out this weekend to California for a two-game stretch, one against UC-Davis and the other against Pacific.

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