By Jordan Zuniga
Iowa soccer gave the crowd at the Soccer Complex a jovial rendition of the “Iowa Fight Song” after its thrilling 1-0 victory over No. 23 Rutgers on Thursday.
It was the Hawkeyes’ first Big Ten win, putting their Big Ten record at 1-3-1.
Iowa’s win comes after a disappointing road trip to Michigan, and team captain Karley Stuenkel thinks this win could be a catalyst.
“We really needed this,” she said. “We needed to bounce back from getting point against Michigan and Michigan State. So this win is very pivotal for our season and turn it around into a positive season.”
Iowa owned the first five minutes of the game, rattling off three shots in that span, but the rest of the half featured much more even play between the two teams; at halftime, the score was dead even at 0.
The second half started in stark contrast to the vapid first half when it appeared Rutgers had scored on a free kick.
Chaos ensued as the two officials met to discuss the call. After several minutes, the refs determined that Rutgers was offside and called off the goal.
Hawkeye coach Dave DiIanni called the moment the “turning point” in the game, and it certainly seemed to rejuvenate the Hawkeyes.
Soon after the no-goal call, forward Devin Burns had just the keeper to beat, and she rocketed the ball into the top left corner of the net, giving Iowa a 1-0 lead.
“Kaleigh [Haus] just gave an amazing ball,” Burns said about her seventh goal of the season. “I had been running against the line a lot during the game, and I saw my chance, and I saw the far side of the goal, so I took my shot, and it went in.”
While the Hawkeyes had more chances to score after Burns’ goal, most of their efforts were focused on stopping the Scarlet Knights’ attack.
When the final whistle blew, Iowa claimed its first win over a ranked team since Nov. 5, 2014 — coincidently that win came against Rutgers, ranked No. 23 at the time.
Next up for Iowa will be Maryland, which it faces on Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. at the Iowa Soccer Complex.
It’s important for Iowa to carry the momentum from this game into that game in order for the squad to work its way back up in the Big Ten standings. Maryland also has a 1-3-1 record in the Big Ten. The Terrapins’ strength resides in goalkeeper Rachel Egyed, who has four shutouts and 44 saves this season.
“This win doesn’t mean much if you lose on Sunday,” said DiIanni.
“Maryland is a good team. Very difficult to play very direct. They will give up goals if you can play under their pressure. I think for us, mentally understanding that this is a big win, but it could be even bigger if we can put the same performance together on Sunday.”