Hawkeyes to take on Huskers


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Iowa has never beaten Nebraska in soccer in the seven times the teams have played.

In fact, the Huskers beat Iowa twice last year — once in the regular season and once in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, which the soccer players do not take lightly.

“This is a huge game for us, pride wise — it was huge thing for us to get to the championship last year, and the result was kind of disappointing the way it ended up,” junior Sarah Mazur said. “We want to go into the Big Ten Tournament with a win and feeling, and we can’t overlook Nebraska.”

Beating Nebraska would not only serve as a sort of revenge for Iowa, it would give the Hawks a better seed in the Big Ten Tournament. It would ensure them a spot against either Rutgers or Minnesota in a fourth-fifth seed matchup and avoid a top seed until the second round.

As Mazur said, the team will not overlook Nebraska. Throughout the season, there has been a one-game-at-a-time focus for head coach Dave DiIanni’s squad, and he hopes that will not change.

In fact, he was not exactly thrilled to hear the players are seeing this game as anything different from any regular-season matchup.

“Not to undermine the emotion of it, but this seems to me no different from any other game we’ve played this season,” he said. “It wouldn’t make much sense for us to take the one-game-at-a-time mentality this season and then treat this game as something different.”

His belief is ironclad and a major reason Iowa has enjoyed the success it has — which, with a win, will culminate in a program record for conference wins.

However, in order to set that mark, the Hawkeyes have to survive an onslaught by one of the Big Ten’s best offenses in Nebraska.

“They’re going to try to send a lot of balls over the top, and we just have to be prepared for that,” said junior keeper Hannah Clark. “We’ve all been playing well and have really come together, much better than we did before, and we’re going to play as hard as we can.”

To Iowa’s credit, defense has been its calling card throughout the season, and that has brought them victories on more than one occasion.

On the flip side, the Hawkeyes’ much improved offense has flourished in the last six games, and it should have a field day against a Nebraska defense allowing nearly 2 goals per game.

“We’ll have a lot of space in the backfield to play the ball around, but that means when we go forward, we have to pick and choose our times,” Mazur said. “I think we match up well with them. We played Penn State last Sunday, which plays a lot like them, and that will help.

“We definitely want some revenge, and we will be going into this game hard.”

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