The Hawkeyes travel to Piscataway, New Jersey, for an 11 a.m. (CT) battle with No. 8 Rutgers on Sunday at Yurcak Field.
• The 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.
SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS
• Ranked No. 8 in United Soccer Coaches Poll No. 8
• Leads the Big Ten at 5-0 in conference play. The Scarlet Knights are 10-2 on the year, including a win over then-eighth ranked Penn State and a victory this Wednesday against No. 16 Michigan.
• Rutgers leads the conference in scoring average (3.3) and margin of victory average (2.5); senior Frankie Tagliaferri leads the conference in points (29), goals (11) and shots on goal (30). Tagliaferri ties for the second-most assists in the Big Ten (seven), one more than Iowa’s Hailey Rydberg and Addie Bundy.
SERIES HISTORY – RUTGERS
Iowa is 3-5-0 all-time against the Scarlet Knights. The Hawkeyes fell 2-1 last season in Piscataway.
SHARING THE WEALTH
Ten different Hawkeyes have combined for 21 goals this season. Fifth-year senior Alyssa Walker leads the way offensively with six goals and 12 points. Forward Kenzie Roling has put up four goals for eight points, while forward Courtney Powell and defender Samantha Cary have each scored twice. Defenders Sara Wheaton, Natalie Massa, and Riley Burns, as well as forwards Maggie Johnston and Samantha Tawharu have each scored one goal apiece. Senior captain Hailey Rydberg has also scored one goal and matched a team-best six assists with freshman Addie Bundy. Iowa has outshot opponents 221-122 this season.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Hawkeye defense shutout opponents in six of its final 10 games last year, allowing more than one goal only a single time in that span. That success has carried over into the 2021 season, with Iowa posting five shutouts and keeping all opponents to two scores or fewer through 13 games this fall. Redshirt junior Monica Wilhelm has started every game in goal this season, notching 41 saves while allowing just 11 goals through 13 games. Wilhelm tallied a season-best eight saves against Michigan State on Oct. 3.
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.
Eleven Hawkeye position players have registered at least 90 minutes in a game so far this season. They include: Sara Wheaton (12), Rielee Fetty (nine), Samantha Cary (eight), Addie Bundy (four), Riley Whitaker (two), Olivia Hellweg (two), Miah Schueller, Aleisha Ganief, Courtney Powell, Hailey Rydberg and Kenzie Roling.
2 FOR THE MONEY
The Hawkeyes are undefeated in their last 29 games when scoring two goals or more. Since the start of the 2018 season, Iowa has a record of 28-0-1 when scoring two goals or more. That includes a 7-0 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. Walker leads the team in goals scored through 11 games (six) while Rydberg’s six assists tie for the second-best in the Big Ten.
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.
The Hawkeyes downed Maryland on Sept. 30 with a dominant 2-0 win at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Rydberg knocked in a goal at the 34th mark off an assist from freshman Addie Bundy to give Iowa a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. From there, the Hawkeye defense held firm, allowing just seven Terrapin shots in the contest, and goalkeeper Monica Wilhelm made four saves in the game en route to her fifth shutout of the season. Iowa fell in a hard-fought, 2-1, battle against Michigan State on Oct. 3. A score by Samantha Cary gave Iowa the halftime lead, but the Spartans battled back with a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes to earn the win in Iowa City.
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.
RUN FOR THE POSTSEASON
The 14 conference schools battle during the regular season to claim the 2021 Big Ten Championship and position themselves for a berth in the Big Ten Tournament. The top eight teams will advance to the conference tournament, which begins Oct. 31 with quarterfinal games on the campuses of the four highest seeds. The Big Ten Tournament culminates Nov. 4 and 7 with the semifinals and championship match at a site to be announced.