Clark taking advantage of increased playing time


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Iowa’s soccer team is on the rise.

Backed by a record-setting defense last season, the Hawkeyes won 12 games — third most in school history. In the process, the Hawkeyes set a school record for shutouts in a season and tied the record for fewest goals allowed in a season — 17 in the 21-game schedule.

Through two games this season not much has changed, except for the number of minutes sophomore goalkeeper Hannah Clark has seen on the field.

Clark’s tenure of splitting time appears to be over. But the Fort Collins, Colo., native came into the new season with a similar attitude.

“It feels the same; we’re all still fighting for the one position,” she said. “It’s not necessarily earned yet.”

This fight for playing time with fellow goalkeeper Kiley Beck is something that head coach Ron Rainey has taken note of and believes has made Clark a better goalkeeper in the process.

“We’ve had a very good goalkeeper competition,” he said. “And right now, Hannah has claimed those minutes, but one of the reasons she’s done well is also because of what Kiley Beck has done in practice. They’re pushing each other and making each other better.”

Clark has gotten off to a quick start in the young season for the Hawkeyes. After defeating Western Michigan on Sunday, the Hawkeyes have a record of 2-0.

In those two games, Clark has played all 180 minutes and showcased the same skills at goalkeeper that anchored an Iowa defense, which only allowed .90 goals per game last season.

The sample size of two games is nothing to draw conclusions on, but the potential is certainly evident. Clark has only allowed 1 goal and has saved 5, an 83.3 save percentage.

But the life of a goalkeeper is not always full of action. Yet during those times of dullness, the goalkeeper’s effect on the game is still felt.

During these moments one may not particularly be watching Clark, but one can certainly count on hearing her. Clark is in constant communication with her teammates, something she believes is a large aspect of being a goalkeeper.

“If you’re not really doing anything, you just have to talk to your teammates a lot,” Clark said. “Let them know when a man’s coming. You have to stay mentally in the game the whole time.”

While communication between the goalkeeper and her teammates may seem like a minute part of the game, it is something that her teammates have took note of.

“It’s nice when you hear a goalie talking to you,” Melanie Pickert said. “As a center defender, it’s just nice to hear someone behind you who sees everything.”

For a goalkeeper who ranked third in the Big Ten in save percentage last year, ninth in saves, and won the team’s Newcomer Award, it would be easy for Clark to settle on her accomplishments. But she has no plans of doing that.

“There’s always something to improve on,” she said. “We’re working every day, going over technical things and just things we could be working on to make us better to make it to the NCAA Tournament.”

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