Iowa preps for in-state battle


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When it comes to Iowa State, there is not an sports program at the University of Iowa that does not take the rivalry seriously.

That is especially true for a Hawkeye soccer program that has won the annual game six years in a row and thoroughly whipped the Cyclones 3-0 last season in front of a record crowd.

This year, it is Iowa State’s turn to play host, and the Cyclones will look for revenge.

“Every time we play them, it is always an intense game, and I know we try to be the best in Iowa, and we look forward to playing them,” senior Nicole Urban said. “The emotions are high, the intensity is high, and we’re definitely playing in the moment of the game.”

For Iowa, a key to this game is keeping the emotions that Urban described in check, something that head coach Dave DiIanni has been stressing to his players throughout the week.

“We have to have more composure and maturity — this is a very old team to some degree, so you would hope that experience creates a level head,” he said. “It will be a little bit emotional — 50/50 balls, and you’re playing for your state, and we’ve had success in that to this point.

“We’re not allowing this week or this year to get caught being entitled and not ready.”

While Iowa State have not been nearly as successful as Iowa over the past couple seasons, it will be defending its home field — where the Cyclones lost only twice all of last season.

From a scouting standpoint, ISU uses a 4-3-3 formation, which will add a bit more to the Cyclones’ offensive punch. They also are a good defensive squad and will be much tougher to score on than any of Iowa’s opponents so far this season.

“They are just a very high energy team all over the field; they’re going to come out with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy,” senior Caitlin Brown said. “We talked a lot today about their three in the middle and three up top and finding ways to break them down and get in the attack.”

For Iowa, keeping the streak of wins against the Cyclones alive will be invaluable for reasons other than pride.

Iowa State had an RPI ranking of 132nd last year, and this year, it will probably be something similar. A win against them will only bolster Iowa’s résumé, while a loss could stick out badly when it comes time for the NCAA to pick teams to play in the national tournament.

A lot rides on this game, and while this season certainly differs from last year, quite a bit rides on this game, and both teams know it.

“The atmosphere last year was amazing, a Friday night game, and it was awesome, our fans brought a lot of the energy,” Urban said. “I feel like it’s going to be the same thing tomorrow — in comparison, it will be Iowa State fans, so I think we’ll be able to feed off their energy.

“We’ll take it to them.”

Follow @JordyHansen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa soccer team.

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