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Hawkeye Soccer Falls to No. 15 Michigan, 2-1

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa women's soccer team opened its Big Ten Conference season with a loss to No. 15 Michigan, 2-1, on Sunday at the Iowa Soccer Complex.

The Wolverines struck first in the 22nd minute, as leading scorer Nkem Ezurike found the back of the net with a strike into the right side of the goal from just outside the box. The goal was Ezurike's sixth of the season.

After trailing 1-0 at the half, freshman Bri Toelle nailed an equalizer in the 69th minute, drawing the Hawkeyes even at 1-1. Junior Cloe Lacasse and senior Ashley Catrell were credited with assists on the play.

"We combined a few good passes and got a good cross in," said Toelle. "I took a nice touch and finished it."

Michigan wasted no time regaining the lead, as Kayla Mannino got into the box and knocked a header past Hannah Clark off of a free kick to make the score 2-1 just 59 seconds later.

Iowa had several opportunities to tie the game, but were unable to net a second equalizer. Junior Emily Scott and Alex Melin sent shots just over the crossbar in the 81st and 82nd minutes consecutively, and junior Anne Marie Thomas headed the ball high in the 89th minute in the Hawkeyes' last attack.

Chances were slim for both squads during the entire match, with the Hawkeyes out shooting Michigan, 12-7. Iowa has outscored its opponent in every match this season.

"In the Big Ten, you've got to work with what you're given," said junior Caitlin Brown. "No team in this conference is to be taken lightly."

The loss moves the Hawkeyes to 8-1 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play. Iowa plays six of its next seven games on the road.

"We've got to let this hurt a little bit," said UI head coach Ron Rainey. "We need to rededicate ourselves to getting a little bit better with attacking and on the defensive end."

The Hawkeyes' next match is Friday at Illinois in Champaign, Ill., at 7 p.m. (CT).

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