The University of Iowa soccer team will host Central Michigan, Northern Iowa, and VCU this weekend for the Hawkeye Invitational. The Hawkeyes will face Central Michigan on Friday at 7 p.m. (CT) and VCU on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Admission is free.
• Both games will be streamed live on BTN Plus on BTN2GO, a paid subscription service.
• Live stats for both contests will be available on hawkeyesports.com by visiting the Iowa soccer schedule page.
• Fans can follow the Iowa soccer program on Twitter (@HawkeyeSoccer) for live game updates.
HAWKEYE INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE (All times Central)
VCU vs. UNI – 4:30 p.m.
Central Michigan at Iowa – 7 p.m.
Central Michigan vs. UNI – 11 a.m.
VCU at Iowa – 1:30 p.m.
HALL OF FAME/ALUMNI WEEKEND
The Hawkeyes will welcome back alumni this weekend for the Hawkeye Invitational. Alums will be introduced during Sunday’s game, including Hall of Famer Sarah (Lynch) Fishbune. She is the first Hall of Fame selection in Iowa soccer history.
LAST TIME OUT
• Iowa’s game against No. 22 Washington State was cancelled due to weather.
• The Hawkeyes bested Indiana State, 1-0, on Aug. 26 at home.
• Senior Rose Ripslinger netted the game-winning goal for the Hawkeyes in the 65th minute.
SCOUTING CENTRAL MICHIGAN
• Central Michigan is 1-2-0 through its first three with the lone win coming against Southern Utah, 4-1, on Aug. 19.
• Lexi Pelafas is leading the Chippewas with three goals this season. Pelafas was the MAC scoring champion in 2017 with 13 goals and 28 points.
• Central Michigan was picked to finish fifth in the MAC Preseason coaches poll.
• VCU is 2-1 through three games with wins over Charlotte, 1-0, on Aug. 19 and High Point, 3-1, on Aug. 24.
• Samant Jerabek leads the Rams with two goals and 11 shots.
• Lindsey Martin enters her sixth season as head coach of the Rams.
• This will be Iowa’s second meeting all-time against Central Michigan. Iowa won the first meeting in 2010, 1-0, in Iowa City.
• This will be the Hawkeyes first meeting against VCU. Last season’s game was cancelled due to weather.
SHUTTING DOWN OPPONENTS
• Junior goalkeeper Claire Graves posted her third shutout of the season and the 14th of her career against Indiana State.
• This is Iowa’s first stretch with three straight shutouts since the 2014 season. Former Hawkeye Hannah Clark posted four straight shutouts in wins over Colorado State, Illinois, Minnesota, and Northwestern.
• Graves has tallied 13 saves this season, playing all 290 minutes.
WHEATON’S EARLY IMPACT
• Freshman Sara Wheaton has started all three games for the Hawkeyes. She has played in 281 of the 290 minutes this season, earning her first career assist against Indiana State.
HAWKS ATOP THE B1G
• Junior Natalie Winters is second in the Big Ten with 12 shots and leads the conference with a 4.00 shots per game average.
• Graves leads the conference in shutouts (3), save percentage (1.000), and goals against average (0.00). She is third in saves per game (4.30) and fifth in saves (13).
• Senior Rose Ripslinger scored her first goal of the season against Indiana State. It her third career goal and her first since the 2016 season. Ripslinger has battled injury throughout her Hawkeye career.
GOING THE DISTANCE
• Two Hawkeyes — Hannah Drkulec and Sara Wheaton — played the full 110 minutes against Missouri, while Graves and Morgan Kemerling played the full 200 minutes against Missouri and Creighton.
• Kemerling has played every minute this season as Iowa’s central defender and 90 or more minutes in 19 of Iowa’s last 22 games.
HAWKEYE NEWCOMERS EARLY IMPACT
• Seven Hawkeyes — Bianca Acuario, Skylar Alward, Riley Whitaker, Hailey Rydberg, Sara Wheaton, and Olivia Hellweg — made their first career starts against Missouri and Creighton.
ON THE MEND
The Hawkeyes are without their top two returning goal scorers — juniors Devin Burns and Olivia Fiegel — this weekend.
• Burns is sidelined after suffering a meniscus injury during the preseason, while Fiegel is working her way back from a leg injury. Both players are expected back in the coming weeks.
RETURNEES BY NUMBERS
• Offensively, the Hawkeyes return 80 percent (25 of 31) of the team’s goals from 2017 and 68 percent (21 of 31) of the team’s assists. Iowa has two starting defenders returning, Morgan Kemerling and Leah Moss.
B1G PRESEASON HONORS
• Three Hawkeyes — juniors Devin Burns, Kaleigh Haus, and Natalie Winters — were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List. Burns led the team with nine goals and 23 points, Haus finished third on the team with five goals and 14 points, and Winters started all 19 games and has started all 38 games of her collegiate career.
• Iowa was picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten in the preseason coaches’ poll.
BURNS X 2 X 2
For the third straight season there will be a Burns tandem on the Iowa soccer roster. It was Corey and Devin Burns in 2016 and 2017. Corey is now playing professionally in Denmark, but the sister duo continues with freshman Riley Burns joining the Hawkeyes’ roster and her sister Devin.
The Hawkeyes will rely on veteran leadership with junior forwards Devin Burns, Kaleigh Haus, and Olivia Fiegel, who combined for 20 of the team’s 31 goals last season.
Senior Morgan Kemerling and redshirt junior Kaleigh Haus are Iowa’s team captains for the 2018 season.
• Iowa will play five contests against NCAA Tournament teams in 2018.
• The Hawkeyes will face three opponents who are currently ranked in the United Soccer Coaches top-25 — Penn State (5) and Northwestern (16). Three more Iowa opponents are receiving votes.
COACHING STAFF CHANGES
The Hawkeyes have added Katelyn Longino as an assistant coach and Drago Ceranic as a volunteer assistant coach to the 2018 coaching staff. Longino joins Iowa following coaching stints at Valparaiso, Xavier, and Columbus State. Ceranic coached with the Cedar River Soccer Association since 2009 and has been a part of Iowa’s Olympic Development Program since 2016.
ON THE HORIZON
Iowa travels to Iowa State for the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes will travel to Laramie, Wyoming, to face Wyoming on Sept. 9 at 1 p.m.