Sept. 11, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two second half goals propelled the University of Iowa women’s soccer team a 2-0 victory over Illinois in its Big Ten Conference opener on Thursday night at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The win marks Iowa’s first league-opening victory since 2007 – a 1-0 triumph over Michigan State.
“Our biggest thing has been consistency and can we stay committed to the goal and the objectives of the game for 90 minutes,” said UI head coach Dave DiIanni. “That was key for us today.”
The victory was also Iowa’s first over the Fighting Illini since the 2008 season.
It was all defense in the first half as neither squad could get the ball into the opposing net. Iowa had a major opportunity from senior Cloe Lacasse early as she broke away from two Illini defenders, but her shot bounced off the far right goalpost, keeping the game scoreless.
The Hawkeye offense came alive in the second half. Six minutes in, Lacasse was able to set up senior Melanie Pickert with a free kick after being fouled near the top of the box. Pickert booted a shot over the Illini defense and outstretched goalkeeper Claire Wheatley to net her fourth goal of the season.
The Hawkeye offense was back at it in the 59th minute when Lacasse sent a ball into the corner for sophomore Bri Toelle, who found senior Nicole Urban for her first goal of the season. It was Lacasse’s fourth assist of the season, pushing her career point total to 100 as a Hawkeye.
Junior Hannah Clark got the start at goal for the second-straight game, making four saves to tally her second-straight shutout and the 13th of her career.
“It was a team effort today,” said DiIanni. “We have tonight to celebrate, but after that, the Big Ten is way too difficult to be excited. This is a foundation for us to build on.”
The Hawkeyes (6-1-0, 1-0-0) return action Sunday, hosting Northwestern (4-1-2, 0-0-1) at 1 p.m. (CT).