Nov. 6, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Freshman Bri Toelle's goal in the 62nd minute propelled the University of Iowa soccer team to a 1-0 victory over No. 7 Michigan in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The victory is the first postseason win in program history.
All four quarterfinal games were held at the Illinois Recreation Fields on artificial turf fields due to the rainfall totals accumulated in Champaign throughout the week.
"Michigan is a good team and with the surface and field turf with all the weather, the game wasn't the same as it would have been on grass," said UI head coach Ron Rainey. "We had our one opportunity in the second half, and we put two good shots on goal, and scored on the second one.
"This is an awesome result for our program, and I am humbled because this is a really good Michigan team we defeated."
After playing a first half that featured zero shots on goal by either team, the Hawkeyes' offense created five chances in the second half, none bigger than the opportunity in the 62nd minute.
Junior Katie Nasenbenny created the chance when she dribbled down the middle of the field through the Wolverine defense before finding Toelle in space. The Colorado native's initial shot was blocked by Michigan goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin, but Toelle collected the rebound and fired the shot into the lower left corner to give the Hawkeyes a 1-0 lead. The strike was Toelle's fourth of the season.
"I saw Katie with the ball dribbling down the middle of the field, so I figured I'd turn around and head to the back post," said Toelle. "She chested the ball to me, I trapped it and hit the ball, and the goalie saved it. I was there for my rebound and hit it in again.
"It was unreal. I had goose bumps, and it was amazing."
The Wolverines fired just three of their 16 shots on goal in the game. Michigan's best chance at the equalizer came in the 87th minute when the Hawkeyes were whistled for a foul just outside the box on the Wolverine's leading scorer Nkem Ezurike.
After setting up a wall of defenders, junior Melanie Pickert cleared a Michigan attempt with a header, and Iowa's defense cleared ball-after-ball in the Hawkeye third of the field to knock off their second ranked opponent of the season. Iowa also downed No. 16 Penn State, 3-2, on Oct. 25.
"They started throwing numbers forward, and you have to weather some of the storms," said Rainey. "The defense did an excellent job, and that was 11 defending at the end. Hannah (Clark), the back four, and people in front of her did a really good job."
Sophomore Hannah Clark made three saves in goal to tally her ninth shutout and 14th victory of the season. The Wolverines out-shot Iowa, 16-10, and had a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks. Iowa's 11 starters played all 90 minutes in the contest.
The victory was Iowa's 14th this season, a new school record for the program. The Hawkeyes had previously won 13 games two other times (1999, 2011) in school history.
Iowa (14-5-1) will face No. 20 Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Friday at 11 a.m. (CT) at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. The third-seeded Nittany Lions downed No. 6 seed Wisconsin, 2-0, Wednesday in a game on a corresponding field.