Iowa loses to Nebraska in Big Ten Championship game


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The Iowa soccer team’s dreams of winning a Big Ten Tournament championship fell just short Sunday as top-seeded Nebraska defeated the Hawkeyes, 1-0.

The win now puts Iowa’s NCAA Tournament chances in the hands of those who select the field.

“We’re disappointed and sad, but in the same way, what a great five days,” head coach Ron Rainey said. “The team battled and in three 1-goal games, we were able to get two of them but just fell short today.”

The lone score of the game came via penalty kick at the 29:11 mark of the match. After Nebraska’s Jaycie Johnson received a pass, the forward found her way into the box, where she was knocked down by junior Melanie Pickert.

Johnson converted the penalty kick past Iowa goalkeeper Hannah Clark and into the top right corner of the net. The goal was the first time Iowa had been scored on all tournament and the first score against the Hawkeyes since their Oct. 27 match against Ohio State.

“It was a game that, in my gut, if felt that the first team to score was going to win,” Rainey said. “And that’s what happened.”

The goal affected the match in more ways than simply putting Nebraska up by 1. Because of the lead, Nebraska was able to send extra players back on defense to prevent Iowa from tying it up.

Iowa was limited to just six shots in the second half, compared to the 10 shots the Hawks attempted in the first half. Of those 16 shots total, only three of them were recorded as shots on goal, one of the many reasons Iowa was shut out for just the first time all season.

“In the second half, they kind of did to us what we had done to Michigan and Penn State,” Rainey said. “They conceded some ground and put numbers behind the ball — it just made it real difficult to finish.”

If Iowa had defeated Nebraska, they would have beaten the top three seeds of the tournament. This was largely because of the play of their defense as justified by the selection of Pickert and Clark to the Big Ten All-Tournament team for their play in the Hawkeyes three games over the past week.

“Our defense just played hard, like our whole team did,” Clark said. “We always have bodies in front of the ball and we don’t want to give up any shots on goal.”

Iowa will learn its NCAA Tournament fate today at 3:30 p.m. Something that certainly works in the Hawkeyes’ favor, Iowa had an adjusted RPI of 26.

“Honestly, I’m just really proud of the team,” senior Ashley Catrell said. “We came out and fought all the way through the tournament and to make it to the Big Ten championship game in general is big for us. I’m just really proud of how we fought for each other on the field today.”

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