Hawkeyes Head North for Big Ten Battles - Hawkeye Sports Official Athletic Site
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Hawkeyes Head North for Big Ten Battles
Iowa faces Minnesota on Friday, Wisconsin on Sunday
Junior Katie Nasenbenny has two goals and one assist on the season.
Junior Katie Nasenbenny has two goals and one assist on the season.
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Oct. 15, 2013

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    The University of Iowa soccer team begins its final regular season road trip with a Friday night match-up at Minnesota at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium beginning at 7 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes then head to Madison, Wis., to face Wisconsin on Sunday at the McClimon Track/Soccer Complex at 1 p.m.

    The Golden Gophers hold a 9-4-1 overall record with a 2-3-1 Big Ten record. Minnesota is undefeated at home this season, entering Friday's match with a 6-0-1 record at Lyle Robbie Stadium. Junior Katie Thyken leads the Gophers with five goals, hitting the back of the net on 27.8 percent of her shots. Despite Thyken's success, Minnesota has only scored two goals in conference play, the least in the Big Ten. Freshman Tarah Hobbs has been in goal for the majority of Minnesota's season, playing in 11 games, allowing 10 goals, and logging 62 saves. Sophomore Kristen Knutson has played five games in goal, allowing only two goals in 335:30. Stefanie Golan is in her second year as head coach of the Golden Gophers.

    Minnesota leads the all-time series between the two schools, 10-3-2. Last season's match ended in a draw, 0-0, after two overtimes. Iowa's last victory over the Gophers came in 2007 in Minneapolis.

    The Badgers hold an 8-3-2 overall record with a 3-2-1 Big Ten record. Junior Cara Walls leads Wisconsin with seven goals and four game-winning goals. Sophomore Kinley McNicoll leads the team with 10 assists, and is second on the team with six goals. Freshman Rose Lavelle, who leads the team in shots, has connected with the back of the net five times. Goalkeeper Genevieve Richard has spent all but 24:33 in goal for the Badgers, allowing 15 goals, making 54 saves, and logging four shutouts. Paula Wilkins is in her seventh year as Wisconsin's head coach.

    Wisconsin holds a 9-4-2 lead over the Hawkeyes in the all-time series between the two schools, with Iowa winning last year's match in Iowa City, 2-1. Cloe Lacasse scored her 13th goal in the 46th minute, launching a team-high seven shots in the contest.

    Iowa won its second-straight Big Ten game, downing Indiana, 2-1, on Oct. 12 at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 2-0 lead, getting goals from junior Cloe Lacasse in the 10th minute and junior Melanie Pickert in the 50th minute via a penalty kick.

    Iowa has reached double digits in victories in each of the past three seasons, the first time the program has accomplished the feat in school history. The Hawkeyes' 11 wins are tied for the fourth-most in a single season in school history. Iowa won a school-record 13 games in the 1999 and 2011 seasons and 12 in 2012.

    Junior Cloe Lacasse scored her third goal of the season on Oct. 12 versus Indiana, ending her nine game scoreless streak. Over those nine games, Lacasse fired 30 shots, including a season-high eight shots against Northern Iowa.

    Junior Melanie Pickert has already set career highs in goals (4) and points (11) this season, while tying her career high total in shots (27). The Canton, Mich. native has scored two game-winning goals this season, the first two of her career. Pickert has been a key component of an Iowa defense that is tied for most shutouts in the Big Ten with seven.

    Iowa has scored the game's first goal in 11-of-14 matches this season. The Hawkeyes are undefeated (11-0-0) when notching the game' s first goal and 6-0-0 when netting the first goal in the first half.

    Senior Ashley Catrell is making the most of her final season as a Hawkeye, leading Iowa in multiple categories. The Overland Park, Kan., native leads Iowa with 52 shots, and is tied with junior Melanie Pickert for a team-high in goals with four. Her two game-winning goals are tied for the team lead, and she holds the second-highest assist total (3).

    The Hawkeyes are ranked seventh in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Great Lakes Region rankings that were released Oct. 8. Big Ten teams take up eight of the 10 spots in the poll; Michigan (1), Penn State (3), Nebraska (4), Wisconsin (5), Ohio State (6), Minnesota (8), and Indiana (9).

    The Hawkeyes have been dominant in non-league competition dating back to the 2011 season. The Hawkeyes have compiled a 25-0 nonconference record during the stretch. Iowa's last nonconference loss came during the 2010 season against Nebraska, a year before it joined the Big Ten. Since the 2011 season, the Hawkeyes have out scored their nonconference opponents, 81-12.

    Sophomore Hannah Clark ranks among the top-five in the Big Ten in three different statistical categories. The Colorado native's seven shutouts and 0.50 shutouts per game are tops among the league's 12 goalkeepers, and her 0.78 goals against average ranks third.

    Eight different Iowa players have scored at least one goal thus far in 2013. Senior Ashley Catrell and junior Melanie Pickert lead the team with four strikes, while senior Alex Melin and junior Anne Marie Thomas are are tied for second with three strikes apiece. Junior Cloe Lacasse has a team-best six assists, which ties her for sixth-best in the Big Ten.

    In 14 games, Iowa has out shot its opponents, 225-136. The Hawkeyes have limited the opposition to 59 shots on goal and a .081 shot percentage. Offensively, Iowa has a 23-11 advantage in goals.

    The Hawkeyes continued their dominance over Iowa State on Sept. 6, beating the Cyclones 3-0 in front of a record crowd of 1,594 at the Iowa Soccer Complex. The crowd bested the previous high mark of 975 fans set in the 2011 season. The win was the sixth-straight for Iowa in the series. In those six games, Iowa has out scored the Cyclones 19-4.

    Sophomore goalkeeper Hannah Clark was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 3 after posting consecutive shutouts and leading the Hawkeyes to the team title at the Pacific Soccer Classic. The Fort Collins, Colo., native made six saves on the weekend and had a 0.00 goals against average and a 1.000 saves percentage. The honor is the second of Clark's career.

    In two-plus years, junior Cloe Lacasse has made her mark on the Iowa soccer program. The Sudbury, Ontario, native is currently second in career goals (28) and game-winning goals (8), and third in points (75) and shots (197). Lacasse has led Iowa in goals scored, points, and shots taken in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Lacasse was named Iowa's MVP in 2012, scoring goals in each of the team's first nine matches. She was named to the Madness' 2012 All-Big Ten first-team by CollegeSportsMadness.com, and was an All-Great Lakes Region second team honoree by the NSCAA.

    After defeating UC Davis on Aug. 30 and Pacific on Sept. 1, the Hawkeyes captured the Pacific Soccer Classic team title. Senior Alex Melin, juniors Melanie Pickert, Caitlin Brown, Cloe Lacasse, and sophomore Hannah Clark were named to the all-tournament team.

    Iowa will appear on BTN at least once this season, and the Big Ten Digital Network at least three times. The Hawkeyes' Sept. 22 contest with Michigan was broadcast live on BTN. The Hawkeyes fell to the Wolverines, 2-1. The Big Ten Digital Network broadcast Iowa's games against Northern Iowa (Sept. 17), Michigan State (Oct. 6), and will broadcast the Hawkeyes' home contest versus Ohio State (Oct. 27). The BTN will also be televising the Big Ten Tournament on Nov. 6-10.

    In his eighth season as Iowa head coach, Ron Rainey is the winningest coach in school history. He has compiled a 76-62-16 record, which includes 36 victories the past two plus seasons. The stretch is the best in program history, including a 13-win season in 2011.

    Senior Alex Melin and junior Caitlin Brown have been voted team captains for the 2013 Iowa soccer team.

    In the most recent NSCAA Coaches Poll, three Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 25. Penn State (10-2-1) fell from their previous spot at No. 11 to No. 17, while Michigan (9-2-1) advanced seven spots to No. 12 and Nebraska (9-3-1) climbed two spots to No. 22. Wisconsin received votes.

    Iowa's defense posted a scoreless streak of 435:36 from Aug. 25 to Sept. 13. During the stretch, the Hawkeyes tallied four straight shutouts.

    Juniors Caitlin Brown and Emily Scott are the only two position players to play every minute for the Hawkeyes in 2013, logging 1,275 minutes apiece. Goalkeeper Hannah Clark, who has also played every minute of the season, has thrived with Brown and Scott leading a defense that allows only 9.7 shots per game.

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