Hawks take out Gophers 1-0


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For only the fourth time in school history, the women’s soccer team downed Minnesota on Sept. 20, 1-0.

Nine games into the season, it’s obvious that Iowa is not a team to be trifled with. The win over the Gophers moved Iowa to an 8-1 overall record and its 3-0 start in conference play is best in school history.

“We’re excited to be 3-0 in the Big Ten, but we know that there is still an awful lot of soccer to be played and a lot of adversity awaiting us in the next couple weeks,” head coach Dave DiIanni said. “As of right now, I will say that I am happy with how our kids came out yesterday.

“I liked our mental strength and how we were able to battle in the face of some adversity.”

Iowa’s single strike in the game came in the 32nd minute, when sophomore Amanda Lulek headed in a goal off an assist from sophomore Bri Toelle after a scramble in the box.

The offensive attack should improve with an increased dose of Lulek, who started every game for Iowa last year.

Injured earlier in the year, she is beginning to get back in the swing of things, just in time for two huge games this weekend.

“For her to get the winner against Minnesota — that was really exciting for the whole team,” DiIanni said. “I hope it gives her confidence moving into a very important weekend with Maryland and Rutgers, and I’m just really excited for her.”

Minnesota, despite having a 22-9 advantage in shots, did not score — a feat due in part to an incredible performance by junior keeper Hannah Clark.

The native of Fort Collins, Colorado, made five saves and increased her number of shutouts this season to 4. The win brought Clark’s career shutout count to 15, a feat that has her tied for most in school history with former Hawkeye Emily Moran.

In what’s become a theme of the season, Iowa scored early, then weathered a steady stream of opponent’s shots. In fact, the Hawkeyes have yet to allow a Big Ten goal — the only team in the conference with that distinction.

“We have been able to score first in a lot of games; from a confidence standpoint this has been huge for us,” assistant coach Julie Hanley said. “Our defenders and goalkeepers have done great, but we know we need to do a better job of continuing to keep possession and attack when we have the lead.”

As the cliché goes, defense wins championships, but the lack of offensive production is a little worrisome. Iowa has only scored 4 goals in its last three games, and star forward Cloe Lacasse did not score against Minnesota and has not in either of the other two Big Ten games.

It certainly is something that is worth comment, though the specific way the team has been playing may in fact be part of the larger puzzle that is the Iowa offensive attack.

“We defended way too much — it was something we talked about at halftime and we need to continue to work on,” DiIanni said. “We played not to lose the game versus playing to win the game, and when you do that, you get caught on your heels a little too much.”

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