EAST LANSING, Mich. — University of Iowa women’s soccer defeated top-seed Michigan State, 2-1, on Sunday at DeMartin Soccer Complex to advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
The victory over the 12th-ranked Spartans is Iowa’s highest-ranked win since defeating No. 4 Penn State in the 2020-21 Big Ten Tournament. Both games were played on the road, with the Hawkeyes going on to win the program’s first conference tournament championship that season.
The Hawkeyes, who entered as the tournament eighth-seed, improve to 10-4-4 overall this season. Iowa avenged a 3-0 loss to Michigan State in the regular season finale.
A pair of second half scores lifted Iowa to the comeback victory.
Each defense allowed just two shots in the first half, with Iowa stifling the Spartans to zero shots on goal until the 42nd minute when Michigan State’s Emerson Sargeant drilled a goal to bottom-center. With the score, Michigan State entered halftime with momentum and a 1-0 lead.
The Hawkeyes came out firing. Iowa finished with 11 shots and eight shots on goal for the contest; it only took two shots to even the score.
In the 50th minute of play, fifth-year team captain Samantha Cary lofted a pass to senior Kelli McGroarty in the box. The veteran from Voorhees, New Jersey, fired a header to the top-right corner, up and over the Spartan goalkeeper to even the score.
Three shots and five minutes later, the Hawkeyes struck again. This time, Cary sent a corner in to McGroarty, who advanced the ball to true freshman Sofia Bush. The All-Big Ten Freshman Team honoree rifled in a close-range score to grab the, 2-1, lead.
Iowa’s defense held firm, with goalkeeper Macy Enneking fending off seven shots in the second half. Enneking was credited with one save for the contest.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH DAVE DIIANNI
“We knew this was going to be a difficult challenge for our team, coming back here for the second time in a week, but our ladies embraced it from the beginning. They believed our mentality and performance were not up to the standard that we ask of them each to win any game, let alone against a top team like Michigan State. I’m proud of the conviction and resiliency they have shown this year. We were playing for our season.”
- Iowa’s most recent Big Ten Tournament victory came on Oct. 31, 2021, in East Lansing; the Hawkeyes have been visitors in each of the last four meetings against Michigan State.
- The Big Ten Tournament appearance is the 14th in Hawkeye program history.
- McGroarty now matches seventh-year Josie Durr and junior Elle Otto for a team-best 12 points this season; McGroarty has four goals and four assists this year, while Bush has three goals and one assist (7 points) as a true-freshman midfielder.
- Enneking’s 23 career victories move into a tie for fourth place in the Iowa record book alongside Britta Vogele ’04.
- 90 Tracker: Four Hawkeye position players logged the full 90 minutes against Michigan State, including fifth-year Samantha Cary (13), freshman Millie Greer (13), senior Maggie Johnston (5) and freshman Eva Pattison (4). Five other Hawkeyes have played the entirety of at least one game this season, including senior Rielee Fetty (4), seventh-year Josie Durr, junior Kenzie Roling, sophomore Kellen Fife and freshman Sofia Bush.
Eighth-seeded Iowa (10-4-4, 4-4-3) faces fourth-seeded Penn State (13-1-4, 6-1-3) in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 2. The winner will advance to the championship match on Nov. 5. The semifinals and championship match will be played at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio. Both games will air live on Big Ten Network.