COLUMBUS, Ohio — University of Iowa women’s soccer downed No. 5 Penn State, 1-0, in overtime on Thursday at Lower.com Field to advance to the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
The victory is the second-highest ranked in program history. Iowa defeated a fourth-ranked Penn State team in the 2020-21 Big Ten Tournament.
Coming on the heels of a 2-1 win over No. 12 Michigan State in the first round, the Hawkeyes have defeated consecutive ranked opponents for the second time under Head Coach Dave DiIanni.
The game-winner came in the first overtime off the foot of senior Kelli McGroarty, her fifth goal of the season for a team-best 14 points on the year.
— Hawkeye Soccer (@HawkeyeSoccer) November 3, 2023
The 11th shutout for the Iowa defense this season was enabled in part by a 4-5-1 formation that put Penn State on its heels and kept the Hawkeyes on the attack. Iowa finished regulation with an 11-5 advantage in shots and was mostly able to control possession, though neither team was able to connect in the first 90 minutes.
A flurry of activity late suggested the late score to come. First, Iowa goalkeeper Macy Enneking swatted down a save with in the 80th minute in a one-on-one situation close to the net.
Moments later, a shot from Hawkeye seventh-year Josie Durr streaked past Penn State keeper Katherine Asman only to narrowly rattle off the top crossbar. McGroarty would fire a dart to the bottom center with four minutes left in regulation, but it was again saved on an athletic lunge by Asman.
The Hawkeyes then had to fend off two more Penn State corners in the waning minutes of the second half.
Just when something had to give, freshman Sofia Bush created the needed chaos with a deep shot that again bounced off the top crossbar.
This time, McGroarty was there for the proverbial rebound; a back-peddling Asman was caught out of position, and McGroarty laid in a soft touch to the bottom right corner. Both of McGroarty’s arms were in the air before the ball rolled through the back of the net.
— Hawkeye Soccer (@HawkeyeSoccer) November 3, 2023
The Hawkeyes stopped six Penn State shots in overtime. Enneking finished with four saves en route to her 20th career shutout.
Iowa is the second eighth-seed to advance to the Big Ten Tournament Championship. No eighth-seed has ever won the conference tournament.
The Hawkeyes won the program’s lone Big Ten Tournament Championship in 2020-21, taking advantage of an expanded format related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a two-win regular season, Iowa defeated No. 4 Penn State in the semifinals that season before downing Wisconsin in the championship bout.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH DAVE DIIANNI
“We just were trying to get them to believe that they can play with anybody. It wasn’t pretty the entire time, but I thought they played with great resilience and fight, similar to last weekend when we played Michigan State. We have got our flaws, but we are going to fight. We are going to scrap. You are going to have to go for 90 minutes if you are going to beat us. Penn State is a great team. It went right down to the wire.
[McGroarty] is just a winner. She is a goal-scorer. She finds herself in the box and good things happen. She is starting to figure out how to play at the Big Ten level, and we are really proud of her.
We have seniors such as Josie Durr, Maggie Johnston, Rielee Fetty, Macy Enneking and so many others who have come back. We play true freshmen like Eva Pattison, Millie Greer and Sofia Bush. They played a lot of minutes today against the number-five team in the country, and we had one all-conference player. Apparently, we are a pretty good team.”
- Iowa is the first eighth-seed to reach the Big Ten Tournament Championship since 2005.
- Thursday marks Iowa’s second win over a top-five-ranked opponent in program history.
- The last time Iowa defeated consecutive ranked opponents was in 2018 against No. 24 Penn State (Sept. 30) and No. 22 Nebraska.
- The Hawkeyes are 2-1-1 against ranked opponents this season.
- The Big Ten Tournament appearance is the 14th in Hawkeye program history (established 1997).
- Enneking’s 24 career victories pass Britta Vogele ’04 to stand alone at fourth in program history. Enneking’s 20 career shutouts rank third in the Hawkeye record books.
- 90 Tracker: Nine Hawkeyes registered at least 90 minutes, including fifth-year Samantha Cary (14), freshman Millie Greer (14), senior Maggie Johnston (6), freshman Eva Pattison (5), senior Rielee Fetty (5), junior Kenzie Roling (2), freshman Sofia Bush (2), senior Kelli McGroarty and junior Elle Otto. Two other Hawkeyes, seventh-year Josie Durr and sophomore Kellen Fife, registered 90 minutes in previous outings this season. Three players logged the full 110 minutes against Penn State, as the Hawkeyes made just six substitutions.
Eighth-seeded Iowa (11-4-4, 4-4-3) faces third-seeded Wisconsin (13-3-4, 7-2-1) in the Big Ten Tournament Championship on Sunday. The match will be played at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio, and air live on Big Ten Network.