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Slow second half stymies Hawks

BY JORDAN HANSEN | SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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After a first half that saw Iowa play some very solid soccer, Rutgers came out strong in the second halfand ended any chance the Hawkeyes had of pulling a minor upset, winning 1-0.

The Scarlet Knights created quite a few scoring opportunities for themselves in the second half and managed to sneak a goal past junior Hannah Clark late in the 49th minute of play.

“We are slow coming out of the second half, and today, it cost us the game, and that starts with me adjusting something at halftime,” head coach Dave DiIanni said. “I don’t know what it is, but we’ll have to change something up.”

What that is that needs to change is surely a topic of a lot of discussion, but the Hawkeyes have another problem that branches off from slow second-half starts.

That issue is creating offensive opportunities for themselves, and it showed its ugly face again in Sunday’s loss. It was certainly better than the game against Maryland on Sept. 25, but the offense has still showed signs of struggle.

The Hawkeyes were outshot 21-12 in the game, 11-5 in the second half alone. While shots are not a particularly damning statistic, it still is a fairly decent way to show how much they possess the ball on the opponent’s side of the field.

If the Hawkeyes want to have any chance in its upcoming three-game road trip, they have to be able to figure out a way to get the ball in the net.

“It’s really disappointing, we didn’t get any points and that’s especially true since we were at home,” senior Emily Scott said. “We need to turn it around — we played good soccer but we need to turn that into wins on the road against Michigan and Michigan State.”

However, not everything is gloom and doom for the Hawkeyes. Despite giving up 21 shots Sunday, the defense has still been solid.

“We had good moments for a couple of people, and that’s kind of how the story line has been so far this season,” senior Melanie Pickert said. “We’ve had injuries, so people are getting chances off the bench, but everyone needs to take a look in the mirror and dig deep.

“We need to not just talk about playing for each other but making sprints and getting into tackles — we thrive on energy.”

The injuries that Pickert noted are part of the scoring issues on the team. Nine players were unavailable because of injuries, which led to eight players playing more than 80 minutes.

For an Iowa team that has thrived on substitutions all year, the hit to the depth has been cruel.

“We have to get healthy; it’s becoming laughable to be honest with you … we simply have to get healthy,” DiIanni said. “We need those players who we are calling on to step in to continue to fill that role, and we just need to put together 90 minutes of soccer.”

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


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