Hawks capitalizing on set piece opportunities


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The Hawkeyes have a lot on the line this weekend as they try to continue their nonconference winning streak as well as remain undefeated.

The team will take on St. Louis at the Iowa Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. today.

A big factor in the Hawkeyes’ success has been their ability to capitalize onset pieces. Of their 11 total goals this year, 8 of them have come from free kicks, penalty kicks, or corner kicks.

“We just try to get in into where the crowd is,” Melanie Pickert said. “I don’t know what goes on in there. It seems like a scrum. As long as there’s confusion and bodies moving, then I think whoever wants it can get to it.”

A big proponent of the free kicks is Pickert. The junior midfielder takes the majority of the free kicks, and she usually collects an assist or on some occasions a goal.

The Hawks have capitalized four times on their free kicks this year — all of which involved Pickert in some way. She has assisted on two and finished on the other two.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that she has the ability to control the ball from long distance, essentially making her a threat from anywhere inside the midfield line.

“She works on it,” defender Caitlin Brown said. “Almost every day in practice, she works on it.”
When the Hawks draw fouls in the box and set up for a penalty kick, the odds are in their favor. Iowa has capitalized on all three of its penalty kick opportunities this season.

These moments of restart happen often for the Hawkeyes mainly because of their aggressive play. Leading that is the Hawkeyes frontline of Cloe Lacasse and Ashley Catrell. They have the ability to get deep into their opponent’s territory and either draw a foul or force a corner kick.

The Hawkeyes have sent in 40 corner kicks, compared with their opponents’ 18.

“We’ve done a good job of getting people in dangerous places that have sometimes led to fouls,” head coach Ron Rainey said. “Anytime there’s a penalty kick, that probably means that team was taking away a really dangerous chance to score.”

The Hawks will try to continue their success on these plays when they take on St. Louis. In the Hawkeyes’ previous game, they defeated Wright State, 1-0, but felt as if they didn’t play up to their full potential.

“I feel like mentally we weren’t as prepared as the other games,” goalkeeper Hannah Clark said. “We kind of just went through the motions and showed up.”

St. Louis has a record of 1-4-1, but the Hawkeyes have no plans of taking them lightly with Big Ten play just around the corner.

“We can’t take anyone lightly,” Clark said. “We need to take every game seriously and play as hard as we can.”

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