Sep 6, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The UI Athletics Department staged its first of what will be an annual fireworks show in celebration of the greater Iowa City community Friday night, but it was the fireworks of the unbeaten UI soccer team that stole the show.
The Hawkeyes picked up their sixth straight win over rival Iowa State at the Iowa Soccer Complex, winning 3-0 in front of a record crowd of 1,594 in the opening event of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.
The scoring started in the 11th minute courtesy of a goal by junior Anne Marie Thomas, who scored into the left corner the net off of a free kick from junior Melanie Pickert. Thomas’ strike is her second career game-winning goal.
At 20:01 mark, the Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 2-0 when senior Alex Melin found the back of the net for the second time this season. Sophomore Brooke Backes recorded the assist on the play before Melin’s head beat ISU goalkeeper Maddie Jobe.
“It was nice to get those goals early,” said UI head coach Ron Rainey. “It allowed us to keep doing what we’re good it in the second half. When our possessions are good in front, it opens up space behind and allows us to take those chances near the end-line.”
Iowa’s final goal came in the 64th minute off another free-kick from Pickert from 25 yards out. The defender sent a perfectly placed ball into the box where freshman Bri Toelle fired the shot into the lower left corner of the net in a crowded box. It was Toelle’s first career strike.
“It’s my job to get it (in the box), and it’s their job to finish,” Pickert said. “I’m happy they finished.”
Clark recorded her third-consecutive shutout of the season behind a defense that allowed a mere four shots on goal in 90 minutes. The sophomore needed to make one save, with the rest of Iowa State’s shots not able to reach her vicinity.
“Our defenders are putting heavy pressure on the ball, making sure there aren’t many shots,” Clark said. “Every time someone takes a shot, we’ve got bodies in front of the ball and someone is making contact.”
Rainey said the crowd had an enormous effect on Friday’s contest, amplifying the intensity of an already fierce rivalry game. The crowd shattered the previous record of 975 fans that watched the Iowa-Iowa State game in 2011.
“The energy was excellent,” said Rainey. “The weather was perfect, and I don’t see how our kids couldn’t be fired up about that.”
Iowa, who ran its streak to 23 straight nonconference wins, returns to action Sunday, facing Wright State at 1 p.m. at the UI Soccer Complex.