Around the Big Ten | women’s football

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As the Big Ten women’s football season approaches, the conference is gearing up for a typical 2021-22 season. Unlike 2020-21 – a spring season that featured a conference-only roster – Big Ten teams will have fall contests with non-conference games.

The Big Ten advanced four teams to the NCAA tournament in 2020-21 after playing a conference-only program. Iowa received the automatic bid after winning the conference tournament, and Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers made blanket bids.

Here’s a look at the 14 conference teams heading into the 2021-22 fall season.

Iowa

The Hawkeyes have won just two games in the regular season, but have won four in a row at the Big Ten tournament to claim the conference title for the first time in program history.

Iowa also won its very first NCAA tournament after beating Campbell in the first round. The Hawkeyes lost to No. 3 seed UCLA in the second round to end the season 7-9-1.

Iowa only graduates from the 2020-21 team, defenseman Diane Senkowski.

Goalkeeper Macy Enneking became Iowa’s main starter midway through the season with a 0.47 goals-against average. Forward Meike Ingles led the team with nine points and four goals. The two will return for their second season.

Illinois

The Fighting Illini are tied for fifth in the conference with a 6-4-1 regular season record. Illinois are losing their primary goalie, Sami Sample, who played every game in the net for the Fighting Illini during the 2020-21 season.

But Illinois will return their top scorer, defender Kendra Pasquale, who has scored four goals. Senior forward Makena Silber – Illinois’ second-leading scorer – will also be back.

RELATED: Iowa football faces a variety of non-conference opponents in 2021

Indiana

The Hoosiers finished the season tied with the Fighting Illini for fifth place.

Indiana is bringing back four fifth-year seniors for the 2021-22 season, including starting goalie Bethany Kopel and Hoosiers spring 2021 goalie forward Melanie Forbes.

Kopel played in the net for 12 games last season and had a 0.88 goals against average and 44 saves. Forbes finished the spring 2021 season with three goals and six points.

Rising second-year forward Anna Bennett, who tied Forbes for the team lead with six points, will also return for the Hoosiers

Maryland

The Terrapins finished the 2020-21 spring season 0-9-2 – the only team in the conference not to win a game.

Maryland will return their top scorer, forward Keyera Wynn, who finished the season with five goals. Forward Alyssa Poarch finished second for the Terrapins with two goals and will be back for her senior season.

The Terrapins will also pick up the four goalies who played in the spring of 2020-21.

Michigan

The Wolverines finished the regular season 5-3-3, tying Minnesota for seventh.

Midfielder Nicki Hernandez, returning for a fifth season in 2021-22, led the team with six goals and 14 points in the spring of 2020-21.

Starting goalie Hillary Beall will also be back for her fifth year. In 11 games, she attempted 52 goals, dropping 13.

Michigan State

The Spartans finished the regular season with a 1-9-1 record.

Michigan State recently appointed Jeff Hosler as head coach. Hosler led the Grand Valley State Division II to three national championships and succeeded former Spartans head coach Tom Saxton, who retired after 30 years.

In the first year, defenseman Zivana Labovic led the team with three goals and six points.

Goalkeeper Lauren Kozal played every minute in the net and recorded a 1.85 goals-against average.

Minnesota

The Golden Gophers were tied with Michigan in the standings for seventh place last season.

Minnesota has named Erin Chastain their new head coach for the 2021-22 season. Chastain played for Minnesota in the 1990s and has been DePaul’s head coach for the past 14 seasons.

Midfielder Sophia Boman led the team with two goals and five points in the first year. Megan Plaschko, who has played 12 games and started 10 games as a goaltender, will be back for her junior season.

Nebraska

The Cornhuskers were 11th in the Big Ten with a 2-5-3 record.

Forward Eleanor Dale, who only appeared in five games in the freshman, led the team with two goals and four points.

Goalkeeper Makinzie Short will be back in the net for her junior season as she allowed 16 goals in 10 games in 2020-21.

North West

The Wildcats finished the regular season 5-6 for ninth overall in the Big Ten.

Northwestern will lose points leader and Iowa City native Regan Steigleder, who amassed four goals and eight points in the 2020-21 spring season.

Senior forward Olivia Stone has scored eight points during the season.

Mackenzie Wood, who played all games as a goaltender last season, will also be back for his senior season.

Ohio state

The Buckeyes finished the Big Ten regular season tied for second at 6-1-3.

Ohio State qualified for the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing 4-1 to future title winner Santa Clara.

In his sophomore year in 2020-21, forward Emma Sears led the Buckeyes with seven goals and 17 points.

State of pennsylvania

The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten regular season title with a 9-1-1 record and ended their season in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, with a 3-1 loss to the No. 1 of the State of Florida.

Forward Ally Schlegel led the team with nine goals and 23 points in her second season. Second-year goaltender Katherine Asman started 10 games in the net, allowing less than one goal per game.

Purdue

The Boilermakers finished the regular season 4-5-2.

Fifth-year senior forward Sarah Griffith led the team with five goals and 11 points.

Marisa Bova was the only Boilermaker in the net in the spring and allowed less than one goal per game. Bova will return for his senior season in the fall.

Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights finished tied for second in the conference with a 6-2-3 record.

In the 2020-21 season, Rutgers made it to the NCAA tournament for the ninth consecutive season, falling in the second round to Clemson in a penalty shootout.

Forward / midfielder Amirah Ali was drafted by Portland Thorns FC from the National Women’s Soccer League in their 2021 draft, but has chosen to return to Rutgers for a fifth season. Ali led the Scarlet Knights with seven goals and 15 points.

Meagan McClelland was the team’s only goaltender and allowed 11 goals in 16 games during her junior campaign.

Wisconsin

The Badgers finished the regular season in fourth place in the Big Ten with a 6-3-2 record. Wisconsin advanced to the Big Ten Tournament championship game, losing 1-0 to the Hawkeyes.

In second year, midfielder and forward Emma Jaskaniec led the Badgers with four goals and 10 points in the spring of 2020-21.

Jordyn Bloomer Sr. has been recognized as the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year for two consecutive seasons. She has allowed nine goals in 13 games.

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