The Iowa soccer team did something this weekend that it has not been able to do since 2007 — beat Ohio State.
The Hawkeyes won a defensive match against the Buckeyes as Alex Melin’s game-winner in the 56th minute was the only goal of the contest as Iowa downed Ohio State, 1-0, in Columbus, Ohio, Friday night. Iowa then followed up the win against the Buckeyes with a 4-0 loss to No. 15 Penn State on Sunday at University Park, Pennsylvania.
“The win was big,” Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said of the Ohio State victory. “Ohio State is an athletic, organized team. They came out and put us under a lot of pressure.”
Friday’s match against Ohio State came under cold, windy conditions, which may have benefited the road team Hawkeyes. The defenses of both teams were on display throughout the contest, but Melin’s header off a nice pass from Morgan Showalter was the difference in the end. Earlier in the match, Melin hit the post on another shot attempt in the 14th minute.
“The goal came off a corner kick,” Rainey added. “It was a really nice goal. especially neat because Morgan and Alex have been working on those for the past couple weeks. It was a perfect header from a corner kick.”
Iowa goalkeeper Emily Moran gave a strong effort in the net for the Hawkeyes. She finished with four saves but faced four shots in the first 11 minutes and then faced a flurry of four more shots in the final four minutes to preserve another shutout.
“We absorbed it well and felt comfortable attacking them, which can be seen with the number of corner kicks we were able to get,” Rainey said. “We did a great job of creating chances. We did really well absorbing pressure at the end of the game. The back line stayed mark with people, clearing balls the last 10 minutes when OSU was pressing to tie the game.”
Sunday’s match was even throughout the first half, but Penn State pulled away from Iowa in the final frame with three goals. The 4-0 win improved Penn State to 14-3 overall and 7-0 in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa is now 11-3-2 on the season and 3-3-2 in the Big Ten.
“In the first half, our possession was good,” Rainey said. “We had some good chances but weren’t able to capitalize on them. After the first 45 minutes, we felt like it was still going to be a hard road, but we knew we did some nice things during that time.
“Today we were beaten by a better team. You have to give credit to Penn State. They made very few mental errors in attacking and defending, and that is something we have to get better at before we head out to Nebraska.”
The Hawks will face the Cornhuskers on Thursday. The match in Lincoln, Nebraska, will start at 4 p.m.