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Hawkeye offense at the top of its game

BY JORDAN HANSEN | OCTOBER 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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Despite being known for its defensive prowess, the Hawkeye soccer team’s offense was its calling card Sunday, with a 3-goal first half against Purdue.

Iowa has played solid offensive soccer through the last five games, going 3-1-1 and scoring 7 goals in that span. Even better, with just three regular-season conference games remaining, now is absolutely the best time to be playing a high level of soccer.

“We have a bunch of people contributing to goals, which I think is really beneficial because it doesn’t let opponents mark one person,” senior Emily Scott said. “A lot of people are dangerous, and that just helps out attack so much, because we have so many different options to score."

At the beginning of the season, senior Cloe Lacasse was the go-to scorer in a lot of games, scoring an incredible 7 goals in her first six games this season.

However, once conference play started, Iowa had to start looking elsewhere for goals, because Lacasse was often double- or triple-teamed by Big Ten opponents and struggled to score as a result.

A number of different players have contributed since then, including senior Melanie Pickert, who has 6 goals this season, and sophomore Bri Toelle, who has 3. Beyond that, seven other players have 1 or 2 goals for the Black and Gold.

“We’re starting to click; everyone’s just kind of getting it — it’s toward the end of the season, and everyone knows that this is it,” Lacasse said. “Technically, we’re having our best games yet; everyone’s held the ball very well in comparison to the beginning.

“Everything’s looking cleaner, and that’s really positive.”

Cleaner might be understating things a bit. In Iowa’s first five conference games, it had 15 shots on goal and 15 corner kicks.

In its last five games, Iowa has had 34 shots on goal and 29 corners.

That’s nothing short of an offensive renaissance.

“We’re creating the chances, so we’ll take that at least; we’ve been maybe a bit unlucky, good saves from goalkeepers, hitting the crossbars, stuff like that,” head coach Dave DiIanni said. “Cloe’s been having success behind team’s lines, and we thought we were going to have that advantage in these couple of games.”

To make things even better, Iowa is slowly getting healthier, and the depth is improving ever so slightly. It’s allowed for more substitutions, longer playing time by those subs, and all around better ball movement by the team.

With a solid weekend behind them and an offense that looks to be rolling over the past few weeks, the Hawks head into their final games of the season poised to make a run.

“Getting the two wins against Purdue and Indiana this weekend were very important and very good for our team,” sophomore Corey Burns said. “These next three games against Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska are going to be tough.

“That confidence is going to help us, and we’re just super excited going into these next few games.”

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


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