December 2014

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63 U niversity of Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni calls his first season with the University of Iowa soccer program one of his most gratifying seasons in coaching. "With all the games I have coached, I don't think I can be prouder of a team than I was with this group," said DiIanni, who coached three-time NCAA Division II national championship teams at Grand Valley State. "Adversity affected us physically and mentally throughout the season, but for us to show a resiliency through it all was phenomenal. "As much as we were disappointed that we fell one game short (of the NCAA Tournament), it was as gratifying of a season I have ever had." Iowa battled adversity the entire season. e Hawkeyes had six players go down with season- ending injuries, but the team persevered to win 14 games — the second-most in program history. e Hawkeyes also advanced to the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament for a second- straight season. DiIanni says the team set the tone for a successful season by accepting the new coaching staff from day one. "When we first started in August we were looking for a buy-in attitude," he said. "Early on, the girls showed us they were open-minded to a new style, a new way of coaching, and a new personality from their head coach. "As we battled through adversity early on, it allowed us to get closer together as a team. It helped us rally together and build a unified competitiveness and spirit. at progressed throughout the year and reached its high point at the Big Ten Tournament." e Hawkeyes won seven Big Ten games during the regular season, tying the school-record for conference wins in a season. Iowa earned the No. 5 seed at the Big Ten Tournament, then reeled off consecutive victories, downing No. 23 Rutgers (1-0) and Northwestern (1-0), before falling to No. 11 Wisconsin, 1-0, in the title game in double overtime. DiIanni says there is work to be done in the offseason with the Hawkeyes losing the core of their team — a total of nine seniors — to graduation. "We have talked about taking advantage of opportunities and being focused on what each individual needs to do to be successful in all areas of the program," said DiIanni. "is offseason is about developing good habits and building a work ethic that is matched only by successful programs in the country. at's where the hard work exists. "Sixty-four teams continued to play (in the NCAA Tournament), and we didn't. e only way we're going to be one of those 64 teams is if we expand our work ethic and our expectations of ourselves and each other."

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