University of Iowa women’s soccer travels to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on the 12th-ranked Spartans in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals. Kickoff at the DeMartin Soccer Complex is set for Noon (CT).
- Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal games will stream on B1G+ (subscription required).
- Links to streaming and live stats can be found at the schedule page on hawkeyesports.com.
- Fans can follow the Iowa soccer program on Twitter (@HawkeyeSoccer) for live in-game updates.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
- No. 12 Michigan State shared the regular season conference title with Nebraska, finishing with 23 points in the standings at 7-1-2 in Big Ten play. The Spartans are the tournament one-seed.
- The Spartans defeated Iowa, 3-0, at DeMartin Stadium in the regular season finale.
- Michigan State checks in at 12th in the United Soccer Coaches Poll; Iowa last defeated a top-15 opponent on Oct. 2, 2022, on the road against #13 Northwestern.
- Michigan State averages 2.44 goals per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten and 19th nationally.
- Midfielder Justina Gaynor is sixth in the country for assists (11); Gaynor’s 19 points lead Michigan State.
- Freshman Bella Najera is next with 18 points and also ties for the team-best in goals (7). Five Spartans have registered 10 points or more and 17 players have notched at least one point.
- Defensively, Michigan State averages 0.94 goals against; goalkeeper Kaitlyn Parks has 38 saves at a .704 save percentage. The Spartans earned a 1.50 scoring margin over opponents in the regular season.
- Michigan State leads the Big Ten in corners this season (130).
SERIES HISTORY – MICHIGAN STATE
Sunday marks the fourth straight game in the series played in East Lansing. Iowa trails 9-14-5 in the all-time series against the Spartans. The Hawkeyes are 2-2-1 in the last five meetings against Michigan State.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Iowa heads into postseason play 9-4-4 overall and 3-4-3 in Big Ten Conference play. The Hawkeyes opened the year with a 6-0-1 non-conference record and finished eighth in the Big Ten standings.
- The Big Ten Tournament bid is the sixth under Head Coach Dave DiIanni and 14th in program history. The Hawkeyes earned their first conference championship in the 2020-21 season.
- Coach DiIanni is in his 10th season at the helm of the Iowa women’s soccer program. Iowa is led by eight players with at least three years of collegiate experience, including seventh-year player Josie Durr and fifth-year Samantha Cary, who was a captain last fall. Cary, a lockdown defender, leads Iowa position players in minutes (1,294) this season. Cary has made 91 starts as a Hawkeye. Durr’s five goals and 12 points tie for Iowa-bests this season.
- Many of Iowa’s veterans played during the Cinderella-run in the 2020-21 postseason which saw a two-win regular season result in the first Big Ten Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament win in school history.
- Iowa has pitched 10 shutouts, the program’s most since DiIanni’s first season in 2014 when the Hawkeyes earned a school record 12 clean sheets. Iowa’s .588 shutout percentage ties for 22nd nationally and ranks second in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes have allowed 13 goals against this season, which ranks fourth in the conference (0.76 goals against average).
- Along with Durr, standout juniors Kenzie Roling and Elle Otto lead the team offensively. Otto’s 12 points and five goals match team-bests, while Roling is second in points (11) and leads the assist column (5).
- Senior Macy Enneking returns for her fourth season in goal. Enneking is fifth in program history for career wins (22), needing one more win to climb into fourth, and ranks third in career shutouts (19). Enneking’s nine shutouts this season rank second among Big Ten goalkeepers.
- Iowa welcomes 16 newcomers, including 13 freshmen and three transfers.
- Cary, Enneking and redshirt junior Meike Ingles earned Big Ten Preseason Honors. Cary has earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards this season on Sept. 5, Sept. 12 and Oct. 3. Enneking was named Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Week on Oct. 3.
- Cary, Enneking, and senior Maggie Johnston were voted team captains for the 2023 season.
The Hawkeyes tied Michigan, 1-1, at U-M Soccer Stadium on Oct. 19. Iowa fell to Michigan State, 3-0, in the regular season finale on Oct. 22 at the DeMartin Soccer Complex.
- The result against Michigan proved crucial to Iowa’s postseason aspirations. The Wolverines ultimately finished just one point behind the Hawkeyes for the eighth and final seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa outshot Michigan 13-8 and posted a 5-1 margin in shots on goal. It was a transition steal and score by seventh-year Josie Durr, however, that gave the Hawkeyes an early lead.
- Michigan State jumped out to an early lead in the fourth minute on sophomore Maggie Illig’s first career goal. The Spartans extended their lead with a score early in the second half off the foot of freshman Bella Najera. The final goal came on a 73rd-minute penalty kick.
Iowa is the Big Ten Tournament eighth-seed. The top eight teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the quarterfinal round, with the top four seeds set to host. The winner of Sunday’s contest (Match 1) will face the winner of fifth-seed Indiana at fourth-seed Penn State (Match 2). The Match 3 and Match 4 winners will face off to determine a finalist on the other side of the bracket.
Match 1: #8 Iowa at #1 Michigan State
Match 2: #5 Indiana at #4 Penn State
Match 3: #6 Rutgers at #3 Wisconsin
Match 4: #7 Ohio State at #2 Nebraska
Iowa is a Big Ten Tournament qualifier for the 14th time in program history (since 1997) and the sixth time under Coach DiIanni (10th season). The Hawkeyes earned their first conference tournament championship in the 2020-21 season.
- Iowa turned around a two-win regular season during the unorthodox 2021 spring season. The regular season schedule was moved and shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in an expanded postseason format. The Hawkeyes downed Illinois and Minnesota in the Big Ten Regional Weekend stage to qualify for tournament play. Then, Iowa upset No. 4 Penn State (United Soccer Coaches Poll) in the semifinals for the highest-ranked win in program history. The Hawkeyes beat Wisconsin, 1-0, in the championship game on a golden goal from Jenny Cape ‘22.
- Redshirt junior Meike Ingles went on a postseason tear, drilling four goals (including three game-winners) during the Cinderella run. Two of Ingles’ golden goals came during the win over Penn State and the 1-0 victory at Campbell (Iowa’s first NCAA Tournament win).
- Fifth-year Samantha Cary has earned three Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors this season, including back-to-back recognition on Sept. 5 and Sept. 12. Cary also won the award on Oct. 3.
- Goalkeeper Macy Enneking won Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Week on Oct. 3, her first conference weekly recognition since being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on March 22, 2021.
Along with midfielder Josie Durr (7th-Year) and defender Samantha Cary (5th-Year), the senior class includes Macy Enneking (GK), Rielee Fetty (M), Kelli McGroarty (F/M) and Maggie Johnston (M).
- Redshirt juniors Meike Ingles (F) and Zoë Bessert (F) are also entering their fourth seasons.
- Together, the group of eight players with at least three years’ experience total 325 career starts for the Hawkeyes. Six more juniors round out the Iowa upper class.
The Hawkeyes welcome 16 newcomers, including 13 incoming freshmen and three transfers.
- The following freshmen have seen the pitch for Iowa this season: Millie Greer (17 games played, 17 starts), Sofia Bush (17-11), Eva Pattison (14-9), Abby Skiff (14-2), Sophie Kincaid (9-0), Keira Smyser (3-0), Sonya Mehta (3-0) and Kearstyn Gladden (2-0).
- Iowa also welcomes three transfers in junior goalkeeper Taylor Kane, sophomore forward Shae Doherty and senior midfielder Kelli McGroarty.
- In 2022, McGroarty led La Salle in points (17), goals (6), assists (5), shots (42) and SOG (21).
- McGroarty has three goals and three assists in 2023. McGroarty’s 36 shots are second on the team.
- Kane (Pomona-Pitzer) and Doherty (Belmont) combined for 21 starts and 35 games played at their previous stops. Doherty has four points this season for Iowa.
Nine Hawkeyes have played the entirety of at least one game, including fifth-year Samantha Cary (12), freshman Millie Greer (12), senior Rielee Fetty (4), senior Maggie Johnston (4), freshman Eva Pattison (3), seventh-year Josie Durr, freshman Sofia Bush, junior Kenzie Roling and sophomore Kellen Fife.
SHARING THE WEALTH
Fourteen Hawkeyes have combined for 28 goals this season.
- Elle Otto (5), Josie Durr (5), Kenzie Roling (3) and Kelli McGroarty (3) are the four Iowa players to register more than two goals this season.
- Iowa is 41-1-3 in its last 44 games when scoring two goals or more, which dates back to October of 2017. The lone defeat during that span came this season against Nebraska on Oct. 7.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Hawkeye defense has allowed 13 goals this season, ranking fourth in the Big Ten in goals against average (0.76). Iowa’s 10 clean sheets tie for 22nd in the country in shutout percentage (.558).
- The Hawkeyes have outscored opponents 28-13 this season. Iowa has nearly doubled its opponents in shots (240-120) and shots on goal (117-60).
- Senior Macy Enneking ranks fifth in the Hawkeye record book with 22 career victories (.654 win percentage). Enneking’s 19 career shutouts rank third in program history.
- With one more victory, Enneking can tie Britta Vogele ‘04 for fourth in school history for wins (23).
The Big Ten Tournament semifinals (Nov. 2) and championship match (Nov. 5) will be played at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio. The final two rounds will air live on Big Ten Network.