Iowa drops first game to Michigan


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The Iowa soccer team picked up its first loss of the season Sunday as No. 15 Michigan defeated the Hawkeyes, 2-1, in Iowa’s first Big Ten match of the season.

The loss puts Iowa’s record at 8-1 for the season, 0-1 in conference play.

“Overall, that’s probably going to be a team over there that’s going to win a lot of games in the Big Ten,” head coach Ron Rainey said. “We have to let this hurt a little bit and then rededicate ourselves to getting a little bit better in both the attacking and defense.”

The first score of the game came by the foot of Michigan’s Nkem Ezurike in the 22nd minute. Wolverine goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin launched a free kick from Michigan’s side of the field and eventually found Ezurike, who shot from just outside the box and finished in the right corner of the net.

Iowa responded at the 68:20 mark to tie the match at 1. Junior Cloe Lacasse created space down the right side of the field and dished the ball off to Ashley Catrell. Catrell sent the ball left to Bri Toelle, who shot the ball over the Wolverine goalkeeper into the top right corner of the net.

The goal was Toelle’s second of the season and her first goal during Big Ten play for the Hawkeyes.

“Ultimately, it’s a team effort, but we combined a few good passes and there was a good cross in,” Toelle said. “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and took a nice touch and finished it.”

Responding quickly, the Wolverines scored a goal in the next minute at the 69:19 mark of the match to take the lead again at 2-1. Wolverine midfielder Kayla Mannino received a pass from Ezurike and shot over the head of Iowa goalkeeper Hannah Clark into the top right corner of the net.

The goal created a familiar feeling for the Hawkeyes, who in their recent match against Northern Iowa gave up a similar goal within a minute of scoring a goal of their own.

“We just have to regroup better and connect as an 11 and just say we’re going to be better defensively,” senior Caitlin Brown said. “That’s not acceptable.” 

The match was the Hawkeyes’ first conference test of the season and gave the players a taste of what to expect for the rest of season — in particular the physicality of the match.

“This is what most of the games will look like,” Rainey said. “I would say that Michigan is not the most physical team in the league, but they played hard. Both teams played hard today.”

Despite the losing effort, Iowa maintained control of most aspects of the game. One in particular was the Hawkeyes’ stretch of outshooting their opponents — they outshot Michigan 12-7.

Although the Hawkeyes started the Big Ten season with a loss, members of the team were optimistic in that they remained competitive with the Wolverines.

“Hopefully, what this does is it shows that we can be really competitive with a ranked team in the country,” Rainey said. “That’s something we should be pretty excited about.”

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