What is the difference between a coincidence and a trend? It’s a tough question to answer (a question I try to solve in my day-to-day work as a marketing analyst) and gets even tougher when it comes to collegiate athletes. We’ve seen teams put on horrendous performances and followed them up with Herculean performances over the next week (hello, 2016 football vs. Michigan) and we’ve seen teams that seemed to be on the road to success and inexplicably collapsed (hello, most men- Basketball Teams of the 2010s).
Finding the difference between meaningful change and noise is almost impossible, and pinpointing the exact moment it switches from one to the other is even more difficult. For the past few weeks, Hawkeye Soccer have looked like they might be on the verge of a breakthrough and their performance last week proved that. The group may not have enough time to qualify for the postseason, but a strong week to end the season is nice confirmation that the work done is a breeding success.
Let’s take a look.
This week’s Spotlight: Hawkeye Soccer
Iowa Soccer started the week with a 2-1 win over #13 Northwestern followed by a 1-1 draw against #24 Penn State. Against Northwestern, Iowa emphasized being aggressive early and often. The Hawks fired eight shots at halftime and conceded a Cats own goal from a free kick in the 28th minute. The Hawkeyes doubled their lead five minutes later when Addie Bundy sent a perfectly placed shot to the top left corner past the keeper.
ADDIE BUNDY FROM DOWNTOWN!!!
— Hawkeye Soccer (@HawkeyeSoccer) October 21, 2022
Northwestern didn’t go down quietly and found their own goal in the 48th minute. It led to a tense finish, but the Iowa defense held out, repelling the Wildcats’ desperate attempt to find an equalizer to give the Hawkeyes a tremendous ranked win, their fifth against an all-time ranked opponent.
Iowa followed up the big road win with another strong game against Penn State. This time, Iowa was down 1-0 at halftime and showed resilience. Caroline Halonen equalized in the 52nd minute. It was her fifth goal of the year, level on points with the team’s lead. The match remained a tie until the 84th minute, when PSU was awarded a penalty that looked like a backbreaker for the Hawks. Instead, goaltender Macy Enneking made a massive save, preventing the Nittany Lions from winning and saving the point for the Hawkeyes.
— Hawkeye Soccer (@HawkeyeSoccer) October 24, 2022
The Hawkeye football team was So closed all season. Hell, they drew seven games, the second-biggest in the country after Bellarmine (a Kentucky college with just over 2,000 students, if you’re wondering). In recent weeks, the group finally seemed to be putting together full performances. Unfortunately, the calendar worked against them and they didn’t have time to qualify for the postseason.
It’s a good sign that the side played their best ball at the end of the season and a bad pill that the group doesn’t get a chance to build their momentum any further. Coach Dianni and the team can use the strong finish to the year as a starting point for off-season training, but it’s a reminder that the games early in the season are just as important as those at the end. Hawkeye Soccer has been tight all season and they have shown in recent weeks that they can play and beat some of the best teams in the country. The obvious next step is to make it a consistent full season, but this program continues to show they have breakthrough potential.
The Iowa field hockey team’s scoring drought continued last weekend as they lost 1-0 to #6 Michigan. Iowa could only muster four shots, and while Grace McGuire and the defense did what they could, you can’t win games if you can’t find the back of the net. It’s been a pretty tough time for this team, but if there’s a glimmer of hope, it’s the level of talent in the group. Talent doesn’t equal results, but you have to believe that this team is too talented to stay down much longer. They’ll be back out there this Friday against MSU.
Iowa volleyball fell to the states of Minnesota and Ohio last week. Both contenders were classified in the top 10 and the Hawks get a silver lining after being able to take a set from the #6 Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes’ schedule will finally ease off this week when they face Maryland on Thursday before traveling to Evanston to fight Northwestern and their well respected tech coordinator (who also happens to be my brother).
Iowa Swimming battled Nebraska last week and lost 175-123. The standout performer for the Hawks was jumper Makayla Hughbanks, who won the 3-foot and 10-foot springboard events and set career bests in both. Twenty different season bests were set by the Hawkeyes at the event. Iowa travels next to face Minnesota on November 11th.
Hawkeye’s cross-country teams competed in the Illini Open last week and finished sixth. Anna Barroso passed the women in the 5,000m to finish eighth in 18:37, while the men’s top finisher was Carson Houg, who finished 15th in the men’s 8,000m. Her next race will be the Big Ten Championships on October 28th.
Iowa Women’s Golf placed 15th in last week’s Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational. Paula Miranda led the Hawkeyes to finish tied 33rd at +16. The men’s team finished 10th at the Williams Cup, led by Ian Meyer, who tied for 21st with +10 points. These tournaments were the last of the fall season for both teams, who will now focus on preparing for the spring season.