Aug. 15, 2014
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By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — With first-year head coach Dave Dilanni at the helm, the University of Iowa soccer team is working to develop its identity.
“We’re figuring (our system) out right now,” Dilanni said Friday at the team’s media day. “I would like to play a bit different style and system. We played DePaul (on Thursday), and we played in the system that I would like to play in. We had varied success. It was very inconsistent but we had success.”
Since practice began August 6, Dilanni says the team has faced adversity early and often.
“We’ve had some injuries,” Dilanni said. “They are going to effect the season. We have had three ACL injuries in seven weeks and two are within the last four days. The girls have been resilient and coachable. We’ve just talked about it being a day-to-day process.”
Among the injuries, the team is looking to replace goal scorers complimentary to senior Cloe Lacasse following the graduation of Ashley Catrell and Alex Melin. The duo accounted for 25 percent of Iowa’s goals last season.
“That’s part of what we’re trying to figure out,” Dilanni said. “Bri Toelle needs to do more, and she’s somebody that has experience. The more she listens to Cloe in terms of her work ethic and character, and then she will be successful. We also had a couple girls that are now injured that were counting on as well.”
Toelle is coming off a successful first season as a Hawkeye, scoring four goals in 23 games. The coaches expect her to step up in her sophomore campaign and become more of an offensive threat with a full season under her belt.
“It gives me a little more confidence,” Toelle said. “Coming in as a sophomore, I’m more comfortable now because I know the program a little better as well as relationships with the team which helps.”
Another option for Dilanni is to move players into different positions. Senior defender Melanie Pickert is one of those players after leading the team in goals last season.
Pickert is open to the change and says she will do whatever it takes to make the team successful.
“I’ll play wherever the team needs me to,” Pickert said. “If it is offense or defense. We’ll figure it out in the next couple weeks and get everything ironed out.”
And that mindset stretches throughout the entire team.
“It’s one of our sub-goals that we’ve talked about,” Pickert said. “It’s all in for the team before yourself.”
The Hawkeyes open the regular season Aug. 22 at Northern Iowa beginning at 7 p.m. (CT).