Aug. 1, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa The scorching temperatures in eastern Iowa might not signal that fall is just around the corner, but a certain activity on the University of Iowa campus today made it seem like summer is nearly over.
The 2012-13 athletics season is underway in Iowa City, as the UI women’s soccer team became the first team to officially begin practice. Head coach Ron Rainey and his Hawkeyes were at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center turf field early Wednesday morning for fitness testing, followed by a short scrimmage at the Iowa Soccer Complex practice facility. The team will gather again Wednesday afternoon to round out its first two-a-day practice.
“It’s fun to kick off the year and get everyone here together,” Rainey said. “We have a ton of work to do, but it’s good to get the team together and move forward as a group.”
The Hawkeyes return 17 players from last year’s team that finished 13-4-3 overall and broke numerous school records. Junior Alex Melin, who was named the team’s most valuable player last season, is excited to get the season started.
“It’s fun to see all the new freshmen on the team,” Melin said. “It’s exciting to see what they are going to bring this year. It’s also great to see who has improved over the summer and just getting everyone back together.”
Rainey will be leaning on Melin, along with some other key players, to help show the underclassmen the way during the early stages of preseason camp.
“Some of our athletes have done well over the summer to make us better,” Rainey said. “We need to take that core group of players and mix them in with everyone else. We need some people to get a little more fit and move a little bit faster. That core group will help push everyone else.”
Melin knows last year is now history and the 2012 squad will need to form its own identity. She says focus will be the key to a successful season.
“We just have to really stay focused,” Melin said. “We need to keep improving and hopefully that means heading to the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament.”
Iowa opens the season Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. against Eastern Illinois at the Iowa Soccer Complex.