Iowa opens Big Ten play hosting Northwestern on Sunday at 1 p.m. (CT) at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Admission is free.
- Sunday’s game will be streamed live on BTN Plus (subscription).
- Links to streaming and live stats can be found at hawkeyesports.com/soccergameday.
- Fans can follow the Iowa soccer program on Twitter (@HawkeyeSoccer) for live in-game updates.
HAWKEYES IN THE POLLS
The Hawkeyes are ranked seventh in the Sept. 24 United Soccer Coaches North Region.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
- Northwestern enters Sunday’s contest riding a three-game winning streak. The Wildcats posted a 1-0 victory over DePaul last time out, an opponent Iowa dispatched, 2-1, to kick off the regular season.
- The Wildcats return their top 12 players in minutes played from a team that finished 6-6-1 during last spring’s conference-only season.
- Fifth-year senior and Iowa City West graduate Regan Steigleder entered the season already one of the most experienced players in the conference, having played in 69 games and recorded 6,148 career minutes. Steigleder scored the tying goal in Northwestern’s overtime victory over Kent State. Steigleder was named to the Big Ten Players to Watch List along with goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood and midfielder Josie Aulicino.
- Aulicino, a sophomore out of Northville, Michigan, leads the Wildcat offense with four of the team’s 11 goals, six of the team’s 10 assists, and 14 of the team’s 32 total points.
Iowa is 7-15-2 against Northwestern, all-time. The WIldcats won the most recent meeting 2-0 in 2021.
SHARING THE WEALTH
Eight different Hawkeyes have combined for 15 goals this season. Fifth-year senior Alyssa Walker and freshman Kenzie Roling have led the way offensively, putting up four goals for eight points each. Defenders Samantha Cary, Sarah Wheaton, Natalie Massa, and Riley Burns, as well as forwards Courtney Powell and Samantha Tawharu have each scored one goal apiece. Senior captain Hailey Rydberg has put up a team-best six assits, with freshman Addie Bundy posting the next-highest with three assists. Iowa has outshot opponents 97-17 in the last two weeks and 151-52 this season.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Hawkeye defense shutout opponents in six of their final 10 games last year, allowing more than one goal only a single time in that span. That dominant streak has carried over into the 2021 season, with Iowa posting four early shutouts and keeping all opponents below two scores through eight games this fall. Iowa has allowed just 17 shots in the past two weeks, including just four shots on goal; the Hawkeyes have outshot opponents 151-52 on the year. Redshirt junior Monica Wilhelm has started every game in goal this season, notching 16 saves while allowing just four goals through eight games.
POWELL PLAYS FOR FAMILY
Graduate student Courtney Powell transferred to Iowa from Iowa State last season as a tribute her father, a lifelong Hawkeye fan who passed away due to COVID-19. Her season-high 81 minutes and early goal were crucial in putting the Cyclones away in Iowa’s 2-1 Cy-Hawk victory Aug. 26.
The following players have played 90 minutes in at least one game this season: Sarah Wheaton (seven), Rielee Fetty (six), Samantha Cary (four), Addie Bundy (two), Olivia Hellweg and Kenzie Roling.
2 FOR THE MONEY
The Hawkeyes are undefeated in their last 27 games when scoring two goals or more. Since the start of the 2018 season, Iowa has a record of 25-0-1 when scoring two goals or more. That includes a 5-0 record in 2021, 2-0 in 2020, 13-0-1 in 2019 and 5-0 in 2018. The Hawkeyes won their final two games in 2017 when scoring two-plus goals.
The last time Iowa lost a game while netting at least two goals was Oct. 1, 2017 at Michigan State (L, 3-2).
The Hawkeyes boast a veteran senior class. Nine seniors provide leadership and production on both sides of the ball. The class scored six of Iowa’s 11 goals last season while defenders Sara Wheaton and Riley Whitaker helped lead Iowa to seven shutouts. Other returning seniors include defender Riley Burns, midfielders Hailey Rydberg, Olivia Hellweg, and Josie Durr, as well as forwards Samantha Tawharu, Jenny Cape, and Skylar Alward. Graduate transfers Courtney Powell and Alyssa Walker also bring experience to the squad.
IOWA HAWKEYES NEED-TO-KNOW
- Three Hawkeyes — Hailey Rydberg, Sara Wheaton, and Samantha Cary — were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List. Iowa was picked to finish seventh out of 14 teams in the preseason coaches’ poll.
- Seniors Sara Wheaton and Hailey Rydberg were voted team captains this season.
- Head coach Dave DiIanni is in his eighth season at the helm of the soccer program. Last spring, DiIanni’s team posted a 7-9-1 record, finishing the season on a red-hot postseason run that saw the Hawkeyes win the program’s first Big Ten Tournament title and reach the NCAA Tournament Second Round for the first time in school history. Iowa lost just one senior from that youthful squad heading into this season.
- Over the past two seasons, Iowa has made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in program history.
- Last spring, the Hawkeyes lost two-time Iowa Offensive Player of the Year Devin Burns and veteran goalkeeper Claire Graves but discovered a group of new young playmakers as the season continued. Sophomore Meike Ingles closed out her rookie campaign with four postseason goals, earning Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Offensive Player honors. Sophomore Macy Enneking was named the conference tournament Most Outstanding Defensive Player, and was an unanimous Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection.
- Those two headline a group of impactful underclassmen this season, though the team also features a robust class of nine senior leaders anchored by midfielder Hailey Rydberg, who was a captain last season and voted the team’s Most Valuable Player. Senior Sara Wheaton is the returning Iowa Defensive Player of the Year.
- The Hawkeyes welcome nine newcomers in 2021, including seven freshmen and two graduate transfers. Courtney Powell was Iowa State’s top offensive weapon last spring, leading the team in points (8), goals (4), shots (29) and shots on goal (23). She is joined by Alyssa Walker, who scored four goals for Richmond last season and previously earned second-team Atlantic-10 All-Conference honors in 2019.
Iowa posted a pair of 2-0 wins against UMKC and Southeast Missouri State last week, bringing their shutout total to four on the year. The Hawkeyes went ahead off a first half UMKC own goal on Thursday set up by a deep shot from senior Sarah Wheaton. Senior Riley Burns blasted her first career score in the second half to help ensure the Hawkeyes ruled the Roos. Iowa blanked Southeast Missouri State on Sunday with scores from senior Samantha Tawharu and junior Natalie Massa. The Hawkeyes outshot opponents to 50-12 on the week
ROLING, WHEATON EARN BIG TEN WEEKLY HONORS
Freshman Kenzie Roling and senior Sara Wheaton were recognized as the Big Ten’s freshman and defensive players of the week for Week 1, the conference office announced Aug. 24.
Roling, a freshman from Waverly, Iowa, scored goals in each of Iowa’s wins at DePaul and St. Louis. Her first-half goal against the Blue Demons evened the score 1-1 and her first-half goal against the Billikens proved to be the game-winner in a 1-0 Hawkeye win. Including Iowa’s preseason exhibitions, Roling scored in each of the Hawkeyes’ first four competitions this season. Following her week one performance, she was named an honorable mention on TopDrawerSoccer’s Team of the Week.
Roling is the first Iowa freshman to score in consecutive matches since Oct. 3-5, 2008, when Alyssa Cosnek scored in wins over Indiana and North Dakota State (Cosnek also scored in each of Iowa’s first two matches that season, the last Hawkeye rookie to score in the team’s opening two contests)
Wheaton, a senior team captain from Chandler, Arizona, played all 90 minutes in both wins week one, leading a defense that allowed just one score and five shots on goal. The Hawkeyes shutout a nationally ranked Billikens team that was held scoreless just two times in 17 games last season.
The weekly conference honors are career firsts for Roling and Wheaton.
IOWA CORN CY-HAWK SERIES
Iowa Soccer kicked off 17th edition of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series with a 2-1 win over the Cyclones on Aug.
- The Hawkeyes have won 11 of the last 13 matches against Iowa State.
Iowa’s corn farmers are proud to sponsor the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series to celebrate our great state and the sports rivalry that unites us all. The Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board partner with Learfield on behalf of both Iowa State University and University of Iowa Athletic Departments for the title sponsorship of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. The Hawkeyes captured the inaugural Cy-Hawk Series in 2004-05 (13-8), and won again in 2006-07 (13-8), 2008-09 (21-4), 2010-11 (15-11), 2012-13 (17-9), 2016-17 (20-7), and 2018-19 (15-10).
CHECK OUT THE NEW DIGS
The new soccer operations facility at the Iowa Soccer Complex is up and running. The $4 million facility is located behind the west sideline and includes a spacious locker room and lounge area, multi-purpose space, athletic training space, visiting team and multipurpose locker rooms, and a press box. Construction of the new facility was funded entirely by private support.
Iowa travels to Bloomington, Indiana, on Sept. 23 for a 7 p.m. (CT) battle with Indiana. The game is televised on BTN. The road trip continues with a noon kickoff Sept. 26 at Purdue’s Folk Field.