LINCOLN, NE – The University of Iowa soccer team defeated Nebraska, 4-3, at Hibner Stadium on Thursday night, storming back from a three-score deficit to complete the largest comeback victory in program history. The Hawkeyes improved to 9-5-1 on the season and 3-4-0 in Big Ten play.
A goal in the seventh minute of action by Cornhusker Elenore Dale set the tone for most of the first half. The Huskers would take a 3-0 lead six minutes before the break off of a pair of scores from Nebraska’s Sarah Weber.
Then, three minutes before the half, Sara Wheaton launched a perfect ball from midfield down to Alyssa Kellar who served the ball to Courtney Powell for a smooth Hawkeye goal.
Iowa continued to chip into the Husker lead when Hailey Rydberg drilled a penalty kick for Iowa’s second score four minutes into the second half to cut Nebraska’s lead to one. Iowa earned the equalizer at the 64th mark when Samantha Cary floated the ball into the box to set up a laser to the back-right corner of the net from Kenzie Roling.
History repeated itself with nine minutes to play, as Cary again sent a ball into the box to force a scrum, and Iowa’s leading scorer Alyssa Walker connected on a header and bounced the game-winner into the lower left corner to give the Hawkeyes the lead.
Iowa hung on from there to secure the historic comeback and pick up three crucial points in conference play.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH DAVE DIANNI
“This was the most emotional and inspiring comeback I’ve been a part of in 19 years as a head coach. Credit to Nebraska with how they began the game and put us on our heels right from the start of the game. I’m not sure if we were nervous or not ready, but momentum swung quickly for them. I am incredibly proud of the resiliency our team showed in the second, but that goal to end the first half with the majority of substitutes on the field was in my opinion the difference spring-boarding momentum into the second half. Today’s game won’t have the same value if we can’t match the quality of play and intensity on Sunday.”
- Sophomore Macy Enneking registered six saves in her regular season debut; the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year had previously sat due to injury.
- Alyssa Walker’s goal brings her to seven on the season, a team best; Kenzie Roling’s score brings her to five goals on the year, good for the next highest total.
- Iowa’s victory after trailing by three scores is the largest comeback in program history; the team’s last win while allowing three goals came in a 4-3 win against Illinois State in 2019.
- The Hawkeyes are undefeated in their last 30 games when scoring two goals or more. Since the start of the 2018 season, Iowa has a record of 29-0-1 when scoring two goals or more. That includes an 8-0 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).
- 90 TRACKER: Sara Wheaton (14) and Samantha Cary (nine) each played the entirety of Thursday’s game. Eleven total Hawkeye position players have registered at least 90 minutes in a game so far this season. They include Rielee Fetty (nine), Addie Bundy (four), Riley Whitaker (two), Olivia Hellweg (two), Hailey Rydberg (2), Miah Schueller, Aleisha Ganief, Courtny Powell, and Kenzie Roling.
The Hawkeyes return home for Senior Day against Illinois at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Kickoff against the Fighting Illini is set for 1 p.m. (CT).