Sept. 12, 2012
Editor's note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Monday, Aug. 6, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2012-13 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dana Dalrymple opened the scoring for the University of Iowa women's soccer team in the sixth minute of the first match against Eastern Illinois on Aug. 17.
And after last season's taste in the Big Ten Tournament, Dalrymple wants to be part of another Hawkeye first: a first postseason victory in program history.
A year ago, Iowa raced to a 9-0 start and finished 13-4-3, its first winning record in nine seasons. Once in the Big Ten Tournament, the Hawkeyes and Michigan State played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer. The Spartans advanced to the semifinals with a 4-3 edge in penalty kicks.
"It was a great atmosphere and a lot of fun to continue playing after the regular season," Dalrymple said. "That game was a battle, and it's always an awful way to end a game in penalty kicks. Last season we wanted to make it into the tournament, and we reached our goal. We were proud of our performance, but this season we want to go further in the tournament and make NCAAs."
Six Hawkeyes that started the tournament game against Michigan State return, including Dalrymple and fellow senior Kat Lewis. Other seniors on the UI roster are Allie Adam, Gabrielle Ainsworth, Stefani Campbell and Jade Grimm.
"It's a neat group," UI head coach Ron Rainey said. "It's a good group from a standpoint of keeping the team together and keeping it working hard. I'm hopeful that the taste of success they had last year, they will want to do the same thing as a senior class in 2012."
In six trips to the league postseason, the Hawkeyes are 0-5-1. This group of seniors won 30 times in its first three seasons, and great things are anticipated this fall.
"The first two years we had a couple rough seasons, and we didn't finish how we wanted," Dalrymple said. "We had a lot of overtime losses, so it was kind of frustrating. Last year's winning season felt good. You work hard for those accomplishments, and the hard work paid off."
Iowa was 9-11 in 2009 and 8-9-3 in 2010 before the breakthrough 13-win season in 2011. The Hawkeyes have started the 2012 season with a record of 8-0, allowing just three goals with five shutouts.
Dalrymple is from Cincinnati, 100 miles from Ohio State University; her father, Dorne, attended Michigan State University, and her stepfather and step-siblings attended Indiana University.
"I grew up around the Big Ten, and I wanted to stay in the Big Ten," Dalrymple said about selecting a college. "I wanted to get out of Ohio and I thought Iowa was a good fit for me."
"The competition is high in every game in the Big Ten," Dalrymple said. "Everyone is kind of at the same level, so every game is a battle, and when you come out on top it feels that much greater."
Selecting Iowa was easier because Dalrymple had a connection to Rainey, who coached her on Olympic development teams.
"I felt comfortable with him as a coach, so coming to Iowa felt like a no-brainer," Dalrymple said. "I'm glad with the decision."
So are the Hawkeyes. During her first three seasons, Dalrymple played in 55 games with 28 starts. She scored eight goals with seven assists (23 points), and her first Big Ten goal -- in the eighth minute against Michigan State on Oct. 2, 2011, in Iowa City -- is a highlight.
It was a game-winner during a 1-0 shutout of the Spartans, and it gave her bragging rights with her father, the MSU graduate.
"After that goal, I knew I could keep doing good things for the team," Dalrymple said.
And what was her father's reaction?
"He was really proud of me. He's an Iowa fan now," Dalrymple said with a laugh. "I think he has more Iowa shirts now than he has Michigan State."
Dalrymple is not only converting goals, she is also converting fans.
As a youngster, Dalrymple's parents encouraged her to get a feel for a variety of activities, and soccer quickly became the preference.
"I was better at it than I was at other sports," she said. "That made me like it more. It was more fun, so I stuck with it."
Better and presumably faster than most of her peers. Dalrymple's speed and quickness allows her to track down balls others think are impossible to reach. She is known for beating defenders, getting to the end line, and dishing off assists.
"We want to be talking about her scoring seven, eight, nine goals during the Big Ten season," Rainey said.
Sprinkle in a dose of high energy and it adds up to Dalrymple.
"I like to use my speed to attack people," she said. "The outside midfielder position is a great fit because I'm an energetic player and I like to be on the attack. I have an attacking mindset and I want to get to the goal and provide other people with chances to score, or take it myself."
Dalrymple was named team offensive MVP following her sophomore season (32 shots, eight points); she is a two-time selection as academic All-Big Ten.
"Dana brings a lot to the table both as an athlete and as a student," Rainey said. "When somebody takes care of things in the classroom, it frees their mind to come to practice and work hard. Dana is a hard worker -- she treats practice like it is a game, so she is a great role model for the freshmen coming in, as well as the sophomores and juniors."
Dalrymple is pursuing a double major in journalism and art with a minor in anthropology; she graduates in spring 2013.
When her days at the UI are finished, Dalrymple envisions a return to Cincinnati in pursuit of a career in photo-journalism. She completed a summer internship with Cincy, a magazine for business professionals, and now appears hooked on the vocation.
"It was a good experience, and I'm excited to go down that path," Dalrymple said.
Thousands of minutes of sprinting on a soccer field remain before Dalrymple trades her cleats for a camera. A run deep into the month of November would be an ideal conclusion. It would also be unprecedented.