Iowa soccer earns at-large bid for NCAA Tournament

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa soccer team is going dancing.

On Friday, the Hawkeyes will take on Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes will play the game on Notre Dame’s home field in South Bend, Ind., at 6 p.m. CST.

“I’m feeling really good,” head coach Ron Rainey said. “I think our team is excited, I think we’re excited. We’re still probably recovering physically after all the games in the Big Ten Tournament.”

The berth in the tournament marks the first time in Iowa soccer program history that a team has qualified for the NCAA tourney. But this seems to be fitting for a season in which the Hawkeyes beat Penn State for the first time, set a program record for wins in a season, and won their first postseason game in program’s history.

One of the big reasons the Hawkeyes are in this position is their recent play in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa defeated second-seed Michigan and third-seed Penn State before losing to top-seed Nebraska in the championship game.

“I think one of the big things was having that confidence in those close games,” Rainey said. “Just pulling out those 1-goal wins was something that really gave us confidence heading into the Big Ten Tournament.”

Iowa enters the match with a record of 15-6-1; Notre Dame has an 11-7-1 record. Notre Dame won the NCAA championships in 2010 and has three titles in the program’s history, which includes 21-consecutive tournament appearances.

“We’re really excited to play Notre Dame, which has been a team that has won numerous championships. And been to many numerous Final Fours,” Rainey said. “We know what a challenge that will be, but know how exciting that will be to be out on their field on Friday.”

— by Jacob Sheyko

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