Oct. 12, 2010
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone app!
- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By ADAM MEIER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There is no denying that the University of Iowa women’s soccer team has a lot of things to work on, but there is also no denying that the early portion of the team’s Big Ten slate is rigorous.
Three of the Hawkeyes’ first five conference matches came against nationally recognized opponents, led by the 16th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers.
UI head coach Ron Rainey isn’t into making excuses about the level of competition.
“We’re in a good conference,” the fifth-year Hawkeye head coach said. “But that’s what we all signed up for.”
After being defeated 3-0 on Sunday by Penn State, the Hawkeyes slipped to 0-3-1 in the conference through four games with a trip to Champaign, Ill., on the horizon to face the RPI’s 26th-ranked Fighting Illini.
“The thing we’ve got to do at practice Tuesday is to look at Saturday’s game (at Illinois) as a great opportunity to compete against a nationally ranked team,” Rainey said. “If we keep that mindset all through the week we’ll have a chance to get a result against a great team.”
While it has yet to show up on the scorecard in Big Ten play, there has been one constant that the Hawkeyes bring to the table every match: effort.
“I don’t think anyone here who saw the game can say there wasn’t good effort (Sunday),” Rainey said.
Effort can make up for a lot of discrepancies on the soccer pitch, but even more important than effort, Rainey says, is trust.
“One of our challenges is going to be making sure there is great trust in one another out on the field and making sure there is great trust throughout the program,” he said. “If we don’t have that trust in each other, then it’s going to be difficult for us. But if we do, I honestly believe we can win the rest of our games.”
Simply looking at the scoreboard the past couple games would not tell the whole story, as there were a number of bright spots for the Hawkeyes. Rainey pointed out some of the positives he saw from his team:
“We did a better job winning some balls back in the midfield as well as anticipating and intercepting some passes,” Rainey said. “We pressed and won balls and we took people on.”
But the head coach would be lying if he said he was happy with the way his squad has been playing.
“We’ve got to do a better job of squeezing up and pressuring the ball to get more attacking chances,” Rainey said. “It’s no secret that if you don’t execute, then you don’t score goals, and when you don’t score goals, you don’t win games. It comes down to execution and we need to do a better job of that.”
Rainey hopes a good week of practice will have his team ready for its upcoming matches and get back on the right track as the season progresses.
“We’ve got to get better on Tuesday,” Rainey said. “And if we repeat that day after day then we’ll be excited about where we are at the end of the year.”
No matter how many adjustments are made and no matter how much work gets put in during practice, there is only way to end a losing streak: win.
“When a team loses a couple games, the best medicine is to get a win,” Rainey said.
The Hawkeyes look to bounce back Saturday, Oct. 16, in Champaign, Ill., when they face the Fighting Illini.