Iowa to take on new faces in Big Ten


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When Iowa takes on Maryland at 2:30 p.m. today, it will be the first meeting between the two teams on the soccer pitch and, in turn, the first as Big Ten opponents.

The Terrapins come from the ACC, which is notably one of the consistently toughest conferences in the nation. Maryland, along with Sept. 28 opponent Rutgers, are the two new faces in the now 14-team Big Ten.

“The expansion out East helps the Big Ten in terms of the market and helps expand out our market recruiting-wise,” Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said. “Maryland is good program, came from the ACC, and Rutgers is having a lot of success in the Big Ten right now.”

There is certainly a good deal of respect for the newcomers from the East from those on the team, especially considering the easy transition to the Big Ten.

The Terrapins sit at 1-1-1 in conference play, and the Scarlet Knights have started off a solid 2-1. The games are also a chance to see how the Hawkeyes stack up against a slightly different brand of soccer.

“A lot of people think that East Coast soccer is a little quicker, I would say, and not quite so physical as maybe the Big Ten would be,” sophomore Amanda Lulek said. “When a lot of people think of the Big Ten, they think of it’s very physical.

“It’s exciting, and I just look at it as another team to play and another opportunity to get a win.”

The unfamiliarity between the teams will certainly be something to watch, especially considering that Iowa has not seen how the Terps will change their plan against the Hawks.

However, with the Hawkeyes’ recent run of success, there is certainly more than a little confidence when it comes to DiIanni’s game plan.

“We don’t really know these kids’ backgrounds, we don’t know the coaches or much about them, either, but I think it’s always a good thing to add talent [to the conference],” senior Cloe Lacasse said. “We’re going to come in with the same game plan and just come in with high intensity.”

A victory would improve the Hawks to 9-1, 4-0 in conference play, and continue what can only be described as a surprisingly impressive start to the season.

The game is also going to be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network, and it will be a chance for the Hawkeyes to prove to a national audience that they shouldn’t be trifled with.

“This is why the kids came to Iowa and why they came to play in the Big Ten and have an opportunity to play on the Big Ten Network,” DiIanni said. “For the kids here, the wires and the cameras on the sidelines, the time-outs halfway through halftime — those are going to be cool for the kids to experience.

“We’re excited, and we know we’re on a roll right now, but we know we are only as good as our next game.”

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

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