No. 25 Iowa Notches 10th Win; Downs Illinois, 3-1

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The No. 25 University of Iowa soccer team notched its 10th victory, downing Illinois, 3-1, on Thursday evening at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The Hawkeyes improve to 10-1 overall, 2-1 in the Big Ten.
After trading goals in the first 25 minutes, sophomore Sara Wheaton netted the game-winner at the 36:07 mark to put Iowa up 2-1.  Wheaton sent off a free kick from just inside the center line and Illini goalkeeper Jaelyn Cunningham stepped out to defend the shot, but it lifted over her glove into the goal.
The strike was Wheaton’s second of the season and it is her first career game-winning goal.
Senior Kaleigh Haus put an exclamation point on the win with her 85th-minute goal to extend the lead to 3-1. Two great passes from sophomores Hailey Rydberg and Samantha Tawharu set up Haus’ fourth goal of the season.
The Hawkeyes set the tone early with a 12th-minute goal off the left foot of senior Devin Burns. Burns’ created space and sent a shot into the upper 90 and Cunningham couldn’t do anything about it. It was Burns’ team-leading fifth goal of the season.
Illinois tied the game 12 minutes later when Kelly Maday scored following an assist by Hope Breslin.
“Tactically, they followed the scouting report to a T.  That might be the best we have played all year in that regard.  We got a great goal out of Kaleigh Haus. That was probably her best game of the year.  We tried three new players up top with Devin (Burns), Samantha (Tawharu), and Kaleigh and they were impactful.”
“My teammates are awesome. Sara Wheaton with that bomb of a shot, who knows if she was planning for it to go that far, but it went and it went in. That was awesome. To follow it up with that awesome goal at the end of the game to nail the win, that was perfect and everybody is excited about it.”
“I was trying to serve it to the back post, so originally I was like, ‘Dang it, I mishit it and it went more toward the near post. Then after it went in, I was like, ‘Oh, I guess that isn’t too bad.’ It was further back than I thought it was.”
Iowa has only allowed three second half goals all season.
– The Hawkeyes’ 10-1 start is tied for the best in program history.
– Iowa has now won 16 straight games (13-0-3) at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Iowa’s last loss at home was Oct. 21, 2017.
– The Hawkeyes have not lost consecutive games since Sept. 27 and Sept. 30, 2018.
– Iowa out-shot Illinois, 13-6 in the game.  Ten of Iowa’s 13 shots came in the first half. The Hawkeyes didn’t record a corner kick in the game.
– Tawharu made her first career start.
– Isabella Blackman, Samantha Cary, Hannah Drkulec, Wheaton, and Riley Whitaker each played all 90 minutes the contest.
The Hawkeyes will play game two of their three game home stand on Sunday against the Northwestern Wildcats at 1 p.m. (CT) at the Iowa Soccer Complex.

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