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Hawkeyes look to rebound on the road

BY JORDAN HANSEN | SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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Despite a 4-1 record away from home, the Hawkeyes have yet to lose a game outside of the state this year. Another road game might be Iowa’s best bet to get out of the midseason slump that it is slogging through.

The team’s lone loss outside of Iowa City came at the hands of the Cyclones in Ames on Sept. 5. Since then, Iowa has won both road games it has played, including a nice 1-0 road win over the Gophers.

Taking that into consideration, it might not be a bad idea for Iowa to hit the road after suffering two 1-0 losses at home over the weekend. Over the next seven days, the Hawkeyes will travel to play Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin.

“We feel good about our matchups against Michigan and Michigan State, and quite honestly it might be a good thing to get on the road,” Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni said. “We have three Michigan girls on our roster, so it’ll nice to be at home.

“We like the matchup against them in terms of our systems and our strengths.”

The games will not come easily. All three teams are ranked among the nation’s top 55, according to the NCAA’s most recent RPI rankings — Wisconsin is No. 12, Michigan sits at No. 51, and Michigan St. at No. 55.

The Spartans’ RPI is lower because they have played some of the best teams in the conference, but they have yet to register a league win and are 0-4-1. It would be fair to say that their RPI makes them slightly overrated.

Wisconsin and Michigan, however, are completely different animals. Those two teams are a combined 18-4, and both are 4-1 in conference play. Iowa knows that beating either of those teams might take something a little extra.

“We need to stay focused — focused on school so we don’t have to think about it while we are on the field,” senior Melanie Pickert said “Eating right, sleeping right, anything you can … everyone has to be 100 percent in, all the time.”

Focus has been an aspect of much deliberation over the past several weeks, and there certainly have been a number of things that have been distractions.

It may seem like a broken record, but injuries are still a huge factor in the team’s performance and could certainly be a cause of lost focus.

“Hopefully, we can get some healthy people back before this weekend; we’re pretty injured right now,” senior Emily Scott said. “Other than that, we just need to keep focusing on playing good soccer — with good soccer and work ethic, you’re going to get goals.”

Goals have been hard to come by for Iowa since conference play has started — the team has scored just 4 goals in five Big Ten games this season — but there is still a feeling among the coaches that the team’s play is not negative or unfixable.

“We feel like we’re playing really good soccer right now,” DiIanni said. “We just have to mentally and physically get a little stronger and find ourselves in a different place heading into the Thursday game against MSU.”

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


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