Storm Wants To Make IIAC Tournament Impact


by Joe Gilson

The women’s soccer team has had its share of ups and downs so far this season, but it has recently started to get on the right track and has won three of its last four games after starting the season 3-6-1.

The Storm now has a record of 2-2 in Iowa Conference play.

“We are starting to get the leadership that I had hoped we would have had earlier in the season, but with all underclassmen it can be a little intimidating,” head coach Ryan Sander said. “All of the girls have improved since they have gotten into camp and now into the season.”

At the end of regular season, the IIAC has a six-team tournament to determine the champion. With eight teams in the conference, it is sure to be a dogfight for the final spots in the tournament.

“I think we are picking up steam, we are slowing down and figuring out what we need to do to get where we need to be,” sophomore goalkeeper Jess Toyne said. “If we keep steadily improving then it is looking up for us. We’re hoping to finish in the top half of our conference and shock some people come conference tournament time.”

Despite having no seniors on the team, the Storm has had seven different players score this year. Juniors Katherine Bird and Nicole Dillenburg have led the team with eight goals each, but Sander says it can be anyone.

“There have been many games this year where in different situations, different players step up for us so it’s been real encouraging as the season has progressed,” Sander said.

Although women’s soccer didn’t experience instant success with the scorebook, the team didn’t give up on its goals, and it is now in the middle of the pack in the Iowa Conference.

“The season began with a rocky start since we had to adapt to each other’s style of play and a new coach, but we are starting to get the hang of it and come together as a team,” junior mid-fielder Nicole Dillenburg said. “We are still working on meeting our expectations and going into the end of the season strong and accomplish our goal, which is to be in the top three in the conference.”

The Storm have two losses in conference play, but are still capable of finishing third in the conference needing to win the remainder of the Iowa Conference games to ensure the number three spot for the tournament. Currently the Storm is tied for fourth place in the conference.

“We’re currently 2-2 in conference play and we set a team goal of being in the top three in the conference, so every game is big,” Sander said. “I think that we can play with anybody in the conference if we want to put in the work. I know we have done it before and we can do it again, I look forward to seeing how we will compete at the end of the season and hopefully beyond.”

The Iowa Conference Tournament is Nov. 5 and 6 and will be hosted by whichever school is at the head of the conference record-wise.

The Storm fell 1-3 to conference opponent, Luther, on Saturday, Oct. 16. Toyne had six saves at the net while Bird recorded a goal, which allows her to sit on top as leading scorer for the Storm this season.