Cary, Rydberg, Wheaton Named B1G Players to Watch

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Juniors Hailey Rydberg and Sara Wheaton and sophomore Samantha Cary have been named to the Big Ten Players to Watch List for the 2021 spring season, it was announced Wednesday by the league office.

The Hawkeyes were picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll in a vote of the league’s 14 head coaches. Penn State was chosen as the favorite, followed by Wisconsin, Michigan, Rutgers, and Ohio State rounded out the top five.

Cary, a defender from St. Charles, Missouri, started all 21 games, where she logged 1,660 minutes as a true freshman in 2019. Cary played 90 or more minutes in eight games and she scored one goal and had three assists on the season.

Rydberg, a midfielder from St. Charles, Illinois, saw action in all 21 games as a sophomore. She scored one goal on 24 shots and had one assist on the year. Rydberg is one of Iowa’s team co-captains for the 2021 spring season.

Wheaton, a defender from Chandler, Arizona, started all 21 games last season, where she logged 1,833 minutes – the second-most on the team. Wheaton played 90 or more minutes in 13 contests. She also scored twice and tallied one assist.

Wheaton and Cary were also instrumental in the Hawkeyes posting eight shutouts in 2019 and the defense allowed seven of fewer shots in 13 games.

The Hawkeyes open the season Saturday, facing Wisconsin at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two Complex in Loves Park, Illinois. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT).