Aug. 5, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The first practice of the 2015 season is in the books for the University of Iowa soccer team. The Hawkeyes opened fall camp Wednesday with a two-hour training session on the practices fields on the west athletics campus.
“It was good to get on the field and start laying the ground work for how we want to play and the expectations we have for them on the field both mentally and physically,” said UI head coach Dave DiIanni. “It was only two hours, but it was a good start. We have to get a little better every time we’re on the field.”
The Hawkeyes took the field with 26 of their 29 student-athletes in action. Eleven of the players are newcomers and 19 are first or second-year players.
“This is a different year in a sense that we have a lot of new faces in terms of Big Ten and University of Iowa soccer,” said DiIanni.
“We have a lot of room to fill and positions (that need) to step up,” said senior Sarah Mazur. “That’s scary and exciting at the same time.”
The Hawkeyes were able to hit the ground running on day one because for the past two weeks, the team has been training together in captain’s practices leading into the official start to the year.
“Those two weeks were crucial to get comfortable with each other on and off the field,” said Mazur. “That was what we needed entering today’s first practice.”
Junior Amanda Lulek, one of five returning starters from last season’s 14 win campaign, felt day one went well, but knows there is room for improvement.
“Our intensity picked up halfway through,” she said. “From now on, we have to start high and it has to stay high throughout every practice. That’s the only way we’re going to get better.”
The Hawkeyes will return to the field this afternoon for the second practice of two-a-days. The two practices a day format will continue for the next eight days leading into the Aug. 14 exhibition game at Illinois State.
“We try to go a little longer in the morning when it’s cooler and shorter in the afternoon… quantity in the morning and quality in the afternoon in terms of time,” said DiIanni. “The girls seem to like knowing the afternoon will be short, intense, and focused. If it’s not, it goes longer.
“The part that is exciting that will allow them to come with a good attitude every day is there is a lot of open playing time and spots this year. We don’t have many experienced players coming back, so that has to be exciting for anybody that’s a Hawkeye soccer player.”