UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University of Iowa soccer team shut down and shut out No. 4 Penn State on Thursday at Jeffrey Field to advance to the Big Ten Tournament final. Freshman Meike Ingles’ goal in the 47th minute capped a defensive clinic in the Hawkeyes’ 1-0 victory.
The win was Iowa’s third ever all-time against Penn State and its first ever in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions are the highest ranked team the Hawkeyes have defeated in program history.
Iowa advances to the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the third time in school history.
Iowa entered the game as a heavy underdog, but looked fearless right out of the gate. The Hawkeyes controlled time of possession in the first half, attacking early on offense with five shot attempts, while breaking up the Nittany Lions’ sequences with intense defensive pressure.
— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) April 15, 2021
In the opening minutes of the second period, junior Hailey Rydberg picked up her second assist of the season on a fast break pass to Ingles, who fired a shot off the bottom-left corner of the goal for the game’s only score.
The goal marked the freshman’s third career score, all of which have come this postseason. Each score was a game-winner, as Ingles sunk an overtime golden goal against Illinois and the go-ahead goal in a shutout against Minnesota.
From there, it was defensive effort for the Hawkeyes, who were forced to field 10 players for the final 30 minutes after sophomore Samantha Cary was issued her second yellow card of the game in the 61st minute.
Iowa fended off a barrage of 24 total Penn State shot attempts. That was thanks in large part to freshman goalkeeper Macy Enneking, whose nine saves mark a new career best.
Enneking had help from the Hawkeye back line, however, which was credited with two saves for the shutout. One came at a crucial Penn State scoring opportunity when junior Olivia Hellweg shielded a shot attempt at the goal line that made its way past the Iowa keeper.
The Hawkeyes previously held the potent Nittany Lion offense to a season-low in scoring during a, 1-0, loss earlier in the year. That result was flipped on Thursday against the Big Ten’s best offense.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH DAVE DIIANI…
“There are a lot of reasons we weren’t prepared to be successful early in the year, and some of it was that we did lose 14 seniors. We’re doing the necessary things to be successful, specifically in the Big Ten with no nonconference schedule.
“They’re bought in, we talked about being bought into the process and investing even more and believing that your input affects your output. A lot of it was what you saw today, you know, the defensive grit, the slide tackling, the block shots, and the willingness to work for each other.”
- Penn State has scored one goal in 41 shot attempts against the Hawkeyes this season; the Nittany Lions led the Big Ten in offensive efficiency and goal scored this season.
- Seven of the Hawkeyes’ eight shot attempts were shots on goal.
- 90 TRACKER: Four Hawkeye position players played the duration of Thursday’s game. They are: Rielee Fetty (10), Diane Senkowski (8), Hailey Rydberg (4), and Josie Durr (3).
Iowa will face third-seeded Wisconsin in Sunday’s championship game at 11 a.m. (CT) at Jeffrey Park.