Nov. 8, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Fresh off the first postseason victory in school history, the mantra surrounding the University of Iowa soccer team entering today's semifinal matchup against Penn State is "Why not us?"
"When we do certain things well, we can be a very difficult team to score on," said UI head coach Ron Rainey, who has guided the Hawkeyes to a school-record 14 victories this season. "When we get on the grass field (on Friday), that will help us attack-wise as well."
The Hawkeyes will have to contend with the highest-scoring team in the Big Ten when it faces the Nittany Lions in an 11 a.m. (CT) contest at the Illinois Soccer Stadium. Penn State has netted 57 goals in 20 games in 2013, 24 more than the Hawkeyes.
"We need to put together a good game plan against one of the best teams in the country," said Rainey. "We need to do a lot of the little things well in practice and put our best foot forward against Penn State."
"I don't think there was doubt any anybody's mind on our team that we could do it. We just had to come out and do it, and we did today. Now we have to take it one game at a time, and our next game is Friday against Penn State."
UI junior Caitlin Brown
Iowa got the ultimate monkey off its back in the regular season matchup, posting a 3-2 victory over the Nittany Lions on Oct. 25 in Iowa City. Penn State had won the first 17 games in the series dating back to 1997.
"Penn State is going to come out with a chip on their shoulder, so we have to be ready," said junior Caitlin Brown, a team co-captain along with senior Alex Melin. "Just because we beat them (in the regular season), it's a new game, a new day and anybody can win."
The Hawkeyes were a confident group entering the Big Ten Tournament, and it has only grown after securing the first postseason win.
"I don't think there was doubt any anybody's mind on our team that we could do it," said Brown. "We just had to come out and do it, and we did today. Now we have to take it one game at a time, and our next game is Friday against Penn State."
Today's game is set to begin at 11 a.m. (CT), and it will be televised live on the BTN with Dan Kelly and Danielle Slaton calling the action. The second semifinal game between top-seeded Nebraska and No. 4 seed Indiana begins at 1:30 p.m.
"The Michigan win gives us a lot of confidence," said freshman Bri Toelle, who scored the first game-winning goal of her career against the Wolverines. "We embraced it and enjoyed the moment, but we're ready to move forward and get the next win."
"We have to take it one game at a time," said sophomore goalkeeper Hannah Clark, who tallied her ninth shutout of the season in the quarterfinal win. "We are definitely ready to face Penn State again."
The winner of the No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 3 Penn State will face the win of the No. 1 Nebraska vs. No. 4 Indiana on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.