Iowa hangs on to beat Northwestern


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Early in the 30th minute, Iowa was awarded its second corner kick of the game, and sophomore Corey Burns ran to the left side of the field to put the ball in play.

It was a golden opportunity for the Hawks to score if Burns could position the ball for someone to convert.

What happened next was incredible.

As her foot hit the ball and lazily began its journey toward the goal, the wind picked up ever so slightly and pushed it inside.

So much inside, in fact, that the ball went in the goal without touching anyone or anything else.

Just like that, Iowa found themselves up 1-0.

“I’m usually trying to get it at the top of the 6 [-yard box] to [Melanie Pickert] or [Anne Marie Thomas], one of the girls that can jump and head it in,” Burns said. “I thought it was going out because I saw the wind take it, and then I saw it hit the post and get in.

“I got super excited from that.”

The reaction by her team was comedic as disbelief turned to joy as it took them all a second to comprehend what had just transpired to be a very strange goal.

Even if the wind had not picked up at that exact moment, Burns would have still made a good play because her ball was placed well.

“I think if not in the back of the post, it was going to go to Mel, who was sitting right beside the post and had just barely missed on earlier in the first half,” head coach Dave DiIanni said. “It was just a good bend of a ball with a little bit of a breeze.

“It was just catching a little bit of a break on a day that you don’t necessarily play your best.”

The Hawkeyes did not exactly get outplayed, but there is still a bit of growing — especially on offense — for the team to do before the more difficult part of the schedule comes along.

Leading scorer Cloe Lacasse was held without a goal for the second-straight game, a slightly troubling stat for Hawkeye fans but not necessarily a cause for panic quite yet. Teams are doubling and tripling her, which is opening up things for other players — but that might become frustrating to her, because she will see it week in and week out.

Iowa’s defense again looked solid, only allowing 10 shots in the game. Senior Caitlin Brown and the rest of the defenders were tough, shutting out a Big Ten opponent for the second-straight game.

At the end of the day, ugly or not, a victory is just that — a victory.

The Hawkeyes are 7-1 and in first place in the Big Ten. How long that lasts is anyone’s guess, but a strong start to the DiIanni era may just be what Iowa needs to reach the next level of play.

“There’s definitely things we didn’t get done that we wanted to, tactical things we talked about and weren’t executed as well as we wanted,” Brown said. “But, at the end of the day we got the win — it wasn’t pretty but that’s 3 points.”

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

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