It’s that time of the year again, ladies and gents. Hawkeye sports are officially back in action; the Iowa soccer team kicked off its 2015 campaign with a win over Pacific on Aug. 21.
Iowa ousted the Tigers, 1-0, with the lone goal of the game coming from junior forward Bri Toelle. Rachele Armand and Corey Burns assisted Toelle in the 20th minute of the first half.
Toelle, who scored only 3 goals last season, credited the goal to the success the team had throughout the game connecting passes.
“As a team, we played better this game,” she said. “I think we moved the ball pretty well. It took us a little while to get into it in the first half, but at halftime, Coach [Dave DiIanni] just talked about connecting more passes … and so I think we ended up doing that.”
On Aug. 18 at the team’s media day, DiIanni said the defensive end is ready to step up and make up for the loss of key offensive players from last season, Cloe Lacasse and Melanie Pickert. The two graduated seniors combined to score 19 of the team’s 33 goals during 2014.
The defense did just that, allowing only 8 shots during the 90 minutes of play — the team averaged slightly more than 13 shots allowed during the 2014 season.
“It’s two games and two shutouts, so that’s a good start,” DiIanni said, referring to the team’s exhibition game Aug. 14. “I’m really happy with the group.”
Hannah Clark, the lone team captain, preserved the shutout as goalkeeper with 6 saves.
Just as Toelle, she credited much of her success to her teammates.
“Our team really played well, and we moved the ball well,” Clark said. “I think they did great.”
Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, yet another starter was lost to an injury. Morgan Kemerling, a freshman from Aurora, Illinois, left the game after just 23 minutes of play.
“We lost a little bit of a rhythm when Morgan Kemerling left, as much as she’s a freshman, I think she does a good job,” DiIanni said.
Kemerling will be day-to-day, DiIanni said, and she may be able to return when the team is in action again Sunday at the Iowa Soccer Complex to face Nebraska-Omaha.