Iowa soccer looks to grab two wins in final home games


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When the Hawkeye soccer team takes the pitch for their final two home games of the season, Big Ten and NCAA Tournament hopes will be on the line.

To add to the drama, the match today against Indiana (5-9-1, 1-7-1) will serve as Senior Night for the nine Iowa seniors. The Oct. 19 home finale against Purdue (6-8-1, 2-7) is also an important match and possibly a must-win.

“I’m excited for our seniors; I don’t see any way they won’t be completely focused and jacked up,” head coach Dave DiIanni said. “They’re committed to getting a result against two teams that we absolutely need to get a result against.”

The showdown with the Hoosiers will probably be the closest thing Iowa (9-4-1, 4-3-1) will have to a Big Ten blowout all season. Indiana ranks near the bottom of the conference in almost every statistical category and for all intents and purposes is not a particularly good team.

Barring something strange, the Hawkeyes should pick up a well-deserved 10th win of the season on Senior Night.

“We’re all really excited; we can’t believe that it’s ending — we came in here and did awesome and put out a new name for Iowa soccer,” senior Nicole Urban said. “It’s been a very successful four years for our class.”

While the class certainly has accomplished a lot, the season does not end after Senior Night, and the team still has quite a bit of work to do to win a second-straight NCAA bid.

Iowa sits sixth in the Big Ten standings, No. 68 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. They’ll need to pick up a couple of wins before the season ends in order to make the eight-team Big Ten Tournament.

Making the tournament and then having a run bolstered their résumé for the NCAA tourney last year, and it would certainly help again. However, DiIanni — as he has all season — looks at things one match at a time.

“Our big thing is that we need to get wins and get points — we did that [last week] against Wisconsin but not against Michigan,” DiIanni said. “But those kind of things will take care of itself; in the end of the day, if we get points and we win games, then our RPI is going to improve.”

After Iowa’s home stand, it play underachieving Ohio State (5-7-2, 2-4-2) which makes their next three games against teams whose combined conference win percentage is a measly .250.

All three of the next games are winnable, but this is the Big Ten and just when things are seemingly dropping into place, something crazy happens.

“There are no gimmie games — every team can beat every team,” senior Katie Nasenbenny said. “While the schedule might seem favorable on paper, I think that just about any schedule is favorable for us the way we’ve been playing. I think we’re ready to go.”

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