COLUMBUS, Ohio — University of Iowa women’s soccer downed No. 12 Wisconsin, 1-0, on Sunday at Lower.com Field to win its second Big Ten Tournament Championship in program history.
Iowa is the first eighth-seed to win the conference tournament. The Hawkeyes clinched the league’s at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, adding a third consecutive ranked win to their resume. In program history, Iowa has never dropped three ranked teams in a row.
“Obviously, we are playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said seventh-year Josie Durr. “To beat three ranked teams in a row to win this, and then just build off that and keep the momentum going, I think is the most important thing going into NCAAs.”
The Hawkeye veteran took Iowa’s lone shot on Sunday. It came on an 18th-minute penalty kick, and it was enough to win her second ring at Iowa.
Josie Durr drills the PK to give Iowa the lead!
— Hawkeye Soccer (@HawkeyeSoccer) November 5, 2023
“Act like you have been here before, right?” said Durr. “Just place it and go for it. Don’t overthink it.”
Iowa’s senior class had indeed been there before, when in the 2020-21 season the Hawkeyes took advantage of an expanded postseason format related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a two-win regular season that year, Iowa defeated a top-five Penn State team in the semifinals before downing Wisconsin in the championship match. The Hawkeyes followed that same path en route to the program’s second conference championship this year, defeating No. 5 Penn State, 1-0, in overtime on Thursday.
“It is just unbelievable,” said Durr. “Getting that one, and then having it be the same thing again, it is just crazy. It is like a story. You can’t make it up.”
The Hawkeyes fended off eight Wisconsin shots, including a pair of clutch saves from goalkeeper Macy Enneking. A team captian, Enneking is from Hilliard, Ohio. Her high school campus is located less than 15 miles from Lower.com Field.
“I am so excited, this being a homefield almost for me,” said Enneking. “Having so many families and friends here, it means so much.”
Two Hawkeyes were awarded Big Ten postseason honors for their play this season, but three earned All-Big Ten Tournament recognition on Sunday. Enneking was among them, as the team was picked 10th in the conference preseason poll, but stunned opponents by the postseason.
— Hawkeye Soccer (@HawkeyeSoccer) November 5, 2023
“Being here with this team, I do not think anyone really thought we would be here,” said Enneking. “That makes it so much better. We were the only ones that really believed in us.”
The Hawkeyes utilized a 4-2-3-1 formation to win the midfield. Like Iowa’s victory over top-seed Michigan State in the first round, tactical adjustments and tough defense flipped the regular season result. Iowa fell to Wisconsin, 1-0, on Sept. 21 earlier this year.
“Our team really focuses on film and scout,” said Enneking. “We are always ready to play how we play, but we are always prepared for every team and how they play. Our team is overall kind of gritty. That is what we always say. Blue collar. Any time we can show our hard work over talent, it is a huge moment for us.”
The Hawkeyes improve to 12-4-4 (3-4-3) heading into NCAA Tournament action. The shutout marks Iowa’s 12th clean sheet this season, matching a program record during Head Coach Dave DiIanni’s first season in 2014.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH DAVE DIIANNI
“We are so incredibly proud of our team. Honestly, just like Thursday night, Penn State and Wisconsin are unbelievable opponents. We were under pressure right until the end there, but we withstood it. We have been asking for a little bit more from this group all year long. Just a little bit more investment, a little bit closer attention to the details. Honestly, the last three games they have been rock solid, and I am so very proud of them…
[Freshmen Millie Greer and Eva Pattison] have got two seniors on either side of them in Sam Cary and Maggie Johnston. [That said] we have asked a lot of them this year. Every situation in different games is new to them, and they have been able to be resilient and adjust to it. Quite honestly, they have been good leaders for us. They are bracketed with Macy [Enneking] behind them, so we have got good leadership for them, but we are really proud of them.
We need a little bit of rest, and we need to get healthy, but we all feel good here with the trophy. We are hoping that we can get a [strong] seed, and we are really proud to be in it.”
- Iowa’s All-Big Ten Tournament Team delegation: fifth-year Samantha Cary, senior Macy Enneking and senior Kelli McGroarty; Cary was named Defensive Player of the Tournament.
- Iowa is the first eight-seed to win the Big Ten Tournament; the Hawkeyes have won two conference tournament championships in program history, both under Coach DiIanni.
- Iowa will make its fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament (2013, 2019, 2020).
- The Hawkeyes have won three consecutive games against ranked opponents (No. 12 Michigan State, No. 5 Penn State, No. 12 Wisconsin); Iowa is 3-1-1 against ranked opponents this season.
- Enneking’s 25 career victories rank fourth in program history. Enneking’s 21 career shutouts rank third in the Hawkeye record books.
- 90 Tracker: Five Hawkeyes played the entirety of Sunday’s game, including fifth-year Samantha Cary (15), freshman Millie Greer (15), senior Maggie Johnston (7), freshman Eva Pattison (6), and freshman Sofia Bush (3). Eleven Iowa position players have registered 90 minutes in previous outings this season, including senior Rielee Fetty (6), seventh-year Josie Durr, senior Kelli McGroarty, junior Elle Otto, junior Kenzie Roling and sophomore Kellen Fife.
The NCAA Tournament selection show streams live at NCAA.com on Monday, Nov. 6, beginning at 3 p.m. (CT). The first round takes place Nov. 10-12 at campus sites.