Sept. 2, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It was more of the same from the University of Iowa women's soccer team Sunday afternoon as the Hawkeyes (6-0-0) cruised to a victory over Valparaiso (2-2-1). Iowa won, 3-1, at the Iowa Soccer Complex and is the only undefeated team remaining in the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes improved their nonconference win streak to 15 matches, as sophomores Melanie Pickert (4') and Cloe Lacasse (23') and senior Dana Dalrymple (63') scored. Iowa held big advantages in the score sheet, outshooting the Crusaders 25-11 with an 11-4 advantage in shots on target.
Iowa is off to one of its best starts in program history, second to only last year's team that won its first eight contests.
"We had an emotional game Friday, so we wanted to come out with more good energy and get good repetitions out there again today," said head coach Ron Rainey. "We saw some good moments of that, and we're pleased to win this contest."
The Hawkeyes opened the scoring, just as they have each game this season, on a firecracker free kick from sophomore defender Melanie Pickert. After a foul from Valparaiso, Pickert took the free kick from 35-yards out. She roped the ball just under the corner of the crossbar, leaving goalkeeper Kristen Manski with little hope for a save. It was Pickert's first career goal.
"We talk a lot about goals that would work against anybody, and that was a goal that not many keepers could have prevented," said Rainey. "She hit that pretty well. We've seen her do that in practice at times, and it was great to see it in a game."
Iowa padded its advantage in the 23rd minute, going ahead 2-0 on a goal from sophomore Cloe Lacasse. Lacasse stole the ball in the attacking third and maneuvered past a Crusader defender to fire a shot into the bottom corner. Lacasse has seven goals, and has already tallied 18 points on the young season.
Freshman goalkeeper Meg Goodson started between the posts, notching two saves without allowing a goal in 45 minutes of play. Goodson improved to 2-0-0 on the season, as fellow freshman Hannah Clark took over in the second half. Iowa and Valparaiso were even at eight shots a piece in the first half, but the Hawkeyes held a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. Iowa also led, 5-2, in corner kicks.
The Hawkeyes opened the second half aggressively, challenging Valparaiso with a barrage of shots. It would pay off for Iowa, as Dalrymple scored her second goal of the season and the 10th of her career in the 63rd minute. With heavy traffic in front of goal, senior Jade Grimm was able to service Dalrymple with a tremendous pass at the six-yard box. Dalrymple's shot beat Manski as Iowa took a 3-0 lead.
"I really liked how we started the second half," said Rainey. "We challenged the players at halftime, and they each came out and responded to that well for the most part."
A Hawkeye miscue led to Valparaiso's first goal of the match in the 75th minute. Senior Luisa Desario intercepted an Iowa back-pass, and fired a shot from just outside the 18-yard box to score.
Iowa outshot the Crusaders 18-3 in the second half, and was able to put the game on ice. Clark recorded one save in replacement of Goodson at goalkeeper for the Hawkeyes. Junior Ashley Catrell led the Hawkeyes with eight shots, three of them on goal. Lacasse (3), sophomore Anne Marie Thomas (2), Dalrymple (2) and senior Gabrielle Ainsworth (2) also led Iowa in shots.
Iowa has outscored its opponents 21-2 this season, and has scored at least three goals in every match. No other team in program history has allowed fewer goals through six games than this year's team. The Hawkeyes have a 59-23 advantage in shots on goal against its opponents this season, as well as a 119-57 advantage in shots.
Iowa has won its last 15 nonconference matches, outscoring its opponents 62-7 in that stretch. Iowa is also undefeated in its last 16 nonconference matches, dating back to Sept. 17, 2010.
The Hawkeyes will be at the Black Knight Classic next week in West Point, N.Y. Iowa will face Army on Friday at 7 p.m., and will face LIU-Brooklyn on Sunday at 10 a.m. "We need to have a good week of practice to build more confidence before we take on two teams in Army and Long Island that each qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season," said Rainey.