Aug. 15, 2014
- Read the June issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone app!
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The acclimation process for first-year University of Iowa head soccer coach Dave DiIanni is ongoing 10 days into fall camp.
“The process is still going on for both the girls and myself in terms of identifying who is who, not name-wise, but player-wise,” DiIanni said Friday at the team’s media day. “Last year they played 11-12 players, so we’re trying to get a handle on what’s happening with the other 12-13 that didn’t get minutes.”
The Hawkeyes have eight starters returning in 2014 — six of which logged at least 1,900 minutes a season ago. Iowa brings back the core of its defense that posted 10 shutouts, and senior forward Cloe Lacasse, who has led the team in scoring in each of her first three seasons.
It’s the other 20 players on the roster that DiIanni is focusing on to get the most out of the team.
“The eight returning starters are good and have a lot of experience, but a lot of others don’t,” said DiIanni. “A large portion of our roster is very inexperienced and in the Big Ten that is not a good thing, but we’ll have some players step up, I know we will.”
“We’re laying foundations to get better day-to-day and week-to-week. I’m trying to make that a point to them, as long as you’re open to learning and improving every day, then we’re going to get better.”
UI head coach Dave DiIanni
DiIanni called the first week of practice rough with the implementation of the new system, but he has seen growth from the Hawkeyes each day.
“They are learning every day and they talk about how us asking more of them has helped them,” said DiIanni. “It’s a process, and we’re in that process right now.”
DiIanni is implementing a new scheme that will put an emphasis on ball possession and having 10 players engaged. He wants the defenders moving forward in the attack and to be comfortable with the ball.
“It’s a lot more of an attacking mindset and people are able to show off a little more flair,” said senior Melanie Pickert. “(Coach DiIanni) is giving us confidence to be who we are and let it happen. It has allowed us to express ourselves in a confidence mindset.”
The Hawkeyes took the field for the first time in a game setting Thursday in Chicago, dropping a 1-0 exhibition contest at DePaul. DiIanni says there was varied success, but there are things to build on.
“The good part is that there was success,” he said. “That bad part is we were inconsistent, and we have to be able to sustain that.”
Picket says the end goal for the 2014 Hawkeyes remains the same. Iowa wants to make its second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament this November and build on the momentum of its 15-7-1 season.
“Everyone should have that mindset because that’s what we want to do,” she said. “We’ve laid out the goals of how we’re going to get there. We are focusing on advancing as far as we can in the Big Ten Tournament because then we’ll be an NCAA tournament team.”
DiIanni wants the team to build on its past success, and he is focusing on laying the foundation to achieve those goals on a daily basis.
“We’re laying foundations to get better day-to-day and week-to-week,” he said. “I’m trying to make that a point to them, as long as you’re open to learning and improving every day, then we’re going to get better.”
The Hawkeyes open the regular season Aug. 22, facing Northern Iowa at 7 p.m. (CT) in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Iowa will play its first home game at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Aug. 29 against Fresno State.