The University of Iowa soccer team heads to the East Coast for its first road trip of the 2019 season. The Hawkeyes face No. 14/16 North Carolina State at the Dail Soccer Field/Track Complex in Raleigh on Thursday at 6 p.m. (CT) before squaring off against UNC Greensboro at the UNCG Soccer Stadium on Sunday at noon.
• Thursday’s game will be streamed online on the ACC Network Extra, while Sunday’s game will be on ESPN+.
• Live stats for both contests will be available on hawkeyesports.com.
• Fans can follow the Iowa soccer program on Twitter (@HawkeyeSoccer) for live game updates.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Iowa is 4-0 to start the season for the first time since the 2015 season and for the second time in head coach Dave DiIanni’s tenure.
• The Hawkeyes have scored a Big Ten-best 14 goals through the first four games of the 2019 season. The figure ranks in the top 15 nationally.
• Iowa is ranked seventh in the United Soccer Coaches North Region rankings.
• DiIanni is in his sixth season at the helm of the Iowa women’s soccer program. DiIanni signed a five-year contract extension in the summer of 2019.
• The Hawkeyes return 10 starters and 22 letterwinners from the 2018 team. Iowa returns players that accounted for 17 of the team’s 20 goals, a trio of defenders that contributed to six shutouts, and the entire goalkeeper contingent.
• Seniors Hannah Drkulec and Isabella Blackman were voted the Hawkeyes’ team captains for the 2019 season.
• The Hawkeyes are leading the Big Ten in goals, scoring 14 times in four games. The figure is one ahead of Penn State and two ahead of Michigan State.
• Senior Natalie Winters has three goals, which are tied for second in the Big Ten. Kaleigh Haus, Gianna Gourley, and Devin Burns have two goals apiece, tying for third in the conference.
• Iowa also has a Big Ten-best 13 assists with Emma Tokuyama, Samantha Tawharu, Melina Hegelheimer, and Gianna Gourley being tied for second in the league with two assists apiece.
• As a team, Iowa ranks first in the Big Ten with 83 shots — 15 more than Michigan State — while senior Devin Burns leads the league with 17 shots.
— Hawkeye Soccer (@HawkeyeSoccer) September 4, 2019
I SCORE, YOU SCORE, WE ALL SCORE
• The Hawkeyes have scored 14 goals in four games (Iowa scored 20 total goals in 2018) and nine different players have found the back of the net. Eleven different players have tallied a point this
• Freshman Gianna Gourley, sophomores Samantha Tawharu, Skylar Alward, and Jenny Cape, and senior Emma Tokuyama have scored their first career goals.
• Iowa scored six goals in its 6-1 victory over Northern Iowa on Aug. 25 — the most for the program since 2017. The six goals (and six assists in the game) are tied for the most in a single game in the Big Ten this season.
• Senior Natalie Winters is leading the team with three goals — with two coming on penalty kicks. She is a perfect 6-for-6 in her career in penalty kicks.
• Winters scored the game-winning goal in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series victory over Iowa State. It was her second game-winning strike of the season and the fourth of her career.
• Iowa is 11-0-3 over its last 14 games at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The Hawkeyes won seven games in 2018 — the most at home since 2013.
• The Hawkeyes went 1-7-0 away from Iowa City last season, but the victory was a 2-1 triumph at No. 21 Nebraska on Oct. 5. It was the highest ranked team Iowa defeated since 2013.
• Three Hawkeyes — Devin Burns, Natalie Winters, and Riley Whitaker — were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors list. Iowa was picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll.
• Iowa has used the same starting lineup in all four contests, starting six seniors, four sophomores, and a freshman.
• Sophomore Riley Whitaker has played all 90 minutes in three of Iowa’s four games this season.
• Redshirt freshman Monica Wilhelm made her Iowa debut in goal, playing the second half against Illinois State. She made one save in 45 minutes.
• Iowa is out-shooting its opposition, 83-21, and the Hawkeyes have a 34-9 advantage in corner kicks this season.
• The Hawkeyes boast a roster featuring 12 seniors and 14 total upperclassmen. The 12 seniors are believed to be the most by a team in the nation.
• The 12 seniors have combined to start 350 games in their collegiate careers.
• Midfielder Natalie Winters has started 59 of 60 games as a Hawkeye, Claire Graves has started 54 contests, and Isabella Blackman has started 50 games.
SENIOR NATALIE WINTERS…
• has started 59 of 60 career games.
• is a three-time All-Big Ten selection, earning All-Freshman team honors in 2016 and thirdteam All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore and junior. She also earned All-Region honors in 2018.
• led the team with five goals in 2018 en route to being named Iowa’s team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.
GRAVES CLIMBING IOWA RECORD BOOKS
Senior Claire Graves currently ranks in the top-five in three career categories in Iowa history. The Indiana native is second in career shutouts (18), third in career victories (27), and fifth in career saves (197).
DRKULEC EARNS B1G HONOR
Senior Hannah Drkulec was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 27 after anchoring an Iowa defense in two victories to open the regular season. The Hawkeyes surrendered just four shots in two games and tallied a shutout. Drkulec also had a goal and an assist in the two contests.
SCOUTING NC STATE
• The Wolfpack bring a 2-1-0 record and a No. 14 national ranking into Thursday’s game. NC State lost its season-opener at No. 15 South Carolina (1-2) before defeating No. 7 Georgetown, 3-1, on Aug. 25. Last week, the Wolfpack won at Monmouth, 1-0, on Aug. 30 before Sunday’s game at George Washington was cancelled.
• King was named to the preseason All-ACC team, while the Wolfpack were picked to finish sixth of 14 teams. King was also named to TopDrawerSoccer’s Preseason Best XI Third Team.
• King received a red card in win over Monmouth, meaning she won’t be available to play Thursday against the Hawkeyes.
SCOUTING UNC GREENSBORO
• The Spartans are 0-3-1 heading into Sunday’s game against Iowa. UNCG tied Campbell (3-3) and fell to Arkansas (0-3), Richmond (1-2), and High Point (1-2, OT).
• Three of UNCG’s four games have been on the road.
• Nicole Souply leads UNCG with two goals and an assist for a team-high five points. Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper and Abby Buchholz have both seen time in goal. Cooper has 21 saves and a 1.86 goals against average, while Buchholz has a 5.24 goals against average.
• The meetings with North Carolina State and UNC Greensboro will be the first in school history.
• Thursday’s game will be the Hawkeyes’ fifth game against an ACC foe. Iowa played Miami (Fla.) in 1998, Notre Dame in 2014 and 2017, and Boston College in 2002.
• Seniors Kaleigh Haus and Devin Burns return for their third season as Iowa’s starting forwards. Haus was second on the team (to midfielder Natalie Winters) in points (four goals, one assist), while Burns found the net twice. Burns was Iowa’s top offensive weapon in 2017, scoring nine times, but she battled injury last season.
• Iowa’s midfield welcomes back seniors Natalie Winters, Isabella Blackman, Sydney Blitchok, and sophomore Hailey Rydberg. Winters scored five times in 2018, while Blackman started 16 games.
• Iowa has three defensive stalwarts returning in senior Hannah Drkulec and sophomores Riley Whitaker and Sara Wheaton. Wheaton logged 1,613 minutes — the second-most on the team — and Drkulec was third with 1,583 minutes. The trio helped the Hawkeyes post six shutouts.
• Iowa welcomes back both of its goalkeepers in senior Claire Graves and redshirt junior Cora Meyers. Graves tallied seven wins and posted six shutouts, while finishing with a 0.86 goals against average and 43 saves. Meyers started seven contests where she had a 1.64 goals against average and made 18 stops.
• The Hawkeyes welcome 10 newcomers — nine freshmen and a sophomore. Three players — Samantha Cary, Samantha Cramin, and Samantha Tawharu — joined the program in January.
• Tawharu played for the New Zealand Junior National Team, while incoming forward Gianna Gourley was the Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year.
Blair Quinn joined the program as associate head coach, where he will coach the Iowa goalkeepers. Quinn joins the program with 16 years of collegiate coaching experience with his most recent stop being at the University of Houston.
• The Hawkeyes will have a variety of themed matches this season, including a Black Out (Aug. 29), Youth Soccer Night (Sept. 13), Greek Night (Sept. 26), Fan Fest with Iowa Field Hockey (Sept. 29), Pink Night (Oct. 3), and Alumni Night (Oct. 11).
• Fans will have opportunities to college several giveaways as well as participate in autograph sessions with the Hawkeyes.
Iowa returns home to host Northern Colorado on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. (CT) at the Iowa Soccer Complex.