Iowa Upsets Penn State, Wins Big Ten Semifinal 1-0
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Iowa Hawkeyes came into Thursday evening’s matchup against the Big Ten’s top-seeded Nittany Lions underdogs as the No. 12 seed in the Big Ten tournament. But the Hawkeyes were stifling on the defensive end all match long, and they came away with the 1-0 victory.
Freshman goalkeeper Macy Enneking was outstanding for Iowa, tallying nine saves on the evening. She had a ton of help from her defense, too, as the Hawkeyes had multiple stops at the goal line from their defenders.
The teams went into halftime all knotted up at zero, and Penn State had a 7-5 advantage in shots. But right out of halftime, Iowa decided to change that storyline.
Meike Ingles took the assist from Hailey Rydberg and put it in the back of the net on a fast break for the Hawkeyes in the 47th minute. Penn State goalkeeper Katherine Asman had a great game on six saves, but the Ingles shot on goal proved to be just a little too much for the sophomore keeper.
Iowa kept up its defense-heavy strategy in the second half, not letting any of Penn State’s star players get any good chances, though things certainly got interesting in the 61st minute when Samantha Cary picked up her second yellow card of the match, resulting in a red card and forcing Iowa to play out the last 28 minutes of the match with 10 players.
Penn State’s big three of Ally Schlegel, Frankie Tagliaferri and Sam Coffey were silenced all game long. There were six shots on goal between the three of them but none found the back of the net.
“Tonight, all the credit goes to Iowa; they came in with a great game plan, they executed precisely, they were a very good team tonight,” Penn State head coach Erica Dambach said. “I thought we relied a little bit too much on individuals as we have done the last three games, and that’s not going to prove to be a very successful formula as we saw tonight.”
Dambach also spoke on Iowa’s defensive strategy and why she thought it was so effective.
“They made it very clear that they were going to give us the wide space and they were going to allow us to serve balls in the box and they were going to clog it up with a lot of numbers,” Dambach said. “It’s a game of chance at that point. They put a lot of bodies in, every shot was contested, every ball was blocked, and it worked.”
With the victory, Iowa advanced to the Big Ten tournament championship game to play the winner of Wisconsin and Rutgers. Penn State falls to 10-2-1 on the season and will now have to wait until the NCAA Tournament for its next action.
Trevor Grady is a junior majoring in management information systems. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.