Aug. 28, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Goals can’t be scored without creating opportunities. The University of Iowa women’s soccer team is both creating chances and capitalizing early in the 2011 season.
The Hawkeyes have outscored their opposition 11-2 through three regular season contests. Iowa has put up six goals in two games — a 6-0 exhibition win over Drake and a 6-1 victory over Western Illinois on Friday night.
“We know goals won’t come this easy as we play some other teams on our schedule,” said UI head coach Ron Rainey, who has guided his team to a 3-0 start this season. “In that same way, we might have that same number of chances, and if you can be ultra-vigilant in your finishes, you can put up three-four goals against good teams.”
Iowa entered the game against the Leathernecks with a clear goal after struggling in a 2-1 victory over Southeast Missouri State last weekend.
“We pushed ourselves (in practice) in finishing and defending,” said Ashley Catrell, who tallied a goal and an assist against Western Illinois. “I think it led to how many goals we scored because we all pushed ourselves out on the field.”
The focus on finishing paid off. The Hawkeyes scored two goals in the first 13:16 and five goals in the first half alone.
“We came out with a fire in that we wanted to win, and we wanted to score,” said Leah DeMoss, who netted her first two goals of the season. “We came out hard, finished our shots and a lot of them were good.”
Iowa is looking to build some momentum early in the season and then maintain it through the start of Big Ten play. Last season, the squad posted a 7-1 record in its first eight games. From there, the team went 1-8-3 the rest of the way to finish with an 8-9-3 overall record.
“That last year was not what we expected,” said DeMoss. “We came out with that energy and fire (this season) to prove that we’re better than what those rankings show. We’ve come out trying to prove that early on.
“A lot of times in the Big Tens, we were going 90 percent to the ball. Now we’re going 110 percent to every single ball and finishing everything in front of the net. I think everyone believes that we can be better than what we were last year.”
The Hawkeyes believe because they’re creating chances and making the most of those scoring opportunities.
Iowa heads to the nation’s capital next weekend to square off against George Washington and American University on Sept. 2 and Sept. 4, respectively.