Nov. 5, 2014
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Sophomore Natalie Krygier’s goal in the 10th minute propelled the fifth-seeded University of Iowa women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over No. 23 Rutgers in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday morning at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex.
The victory improves Iowa’s record to 13-5-1 overall and advances the team to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for a second-straight season.
“We did a good job of taking a couple of their key players out of the game today opposed to the last time we played them, and in the end, that was the biggest difference,” said UI head coach Dave DiIanni. “We defended well in certain areas of the field and we did a good enough job offensively to keep Rutgers on their toes in the second half.”
For the fourth-straight game Iowa was able to get on the board first. Krygier punched in her third goal of the season after corralling a loose ball in front of a crowded Rutgers goal. Sophomore Bri Toelle sent in a corner kick, where senior Melanie Pickert got a head on ball, where it deflected to a one-timer for Krygier.
“The ball came in from the corner, fumbled around in front of the net and Melanie got a head on,” said Krygier. “The net was wide open for me to put it in.”
The goal would be all the Hawkeyes needed as they held off Rutgers for 81 minutes to pick up their 13th victory of the season and school-record 11th shutout of the year.
The Scarlet Knights had a chance to tie things up at the 18 minute mark when Stefanie Scholz fired a shot over a pair of Hawkeye defenders, but it hit off the crossbar to preserve Iowa’s 1-0 lead. Rutgers had another chance in the 34th minute when Jennifer Andresen sent a corner kick in front of the net, but Iowa gathered the loose ball before clearing it out.
Rutgers out-shot the Hawkeyes, 16-9, on the day, including, 12-3, in the second half, but junior Hannah Clark anchored down, tallying seven saves in goal to record her eighth shutout and ninth victory of the season. The eight shutouts are the second most in school history.
The only downside for Iowa in the victory was an injury to Pickert, a first-team All-Big Ten selection. The senior went down in the 38th minute and did not return. Pickert is Iowa’s second leading scorer with seven goals and has started all 84 games of her career.
“The luck we have had with injuries this year has not been good,” said senior Cloe Lacasse. “Melanie has always carried this team through a lot of situations, especially defensively. She is someone a lot of girls on this team look up to.”
Iowa will face Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals Friday at 10 a.m. (CT) at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex. The eighth-seeded Wildcats defeated top-seeded and No. 6 Penn State, 1-0, in the second game of the tournament.
“I’m so proud of our team today,” said DiIanni. “We’ll do our best to get healthy and be ready for our next opponent.”?