There are three weeks left before the beginning of the Big 12 tournament. It's crunch time for every team in the Big 12, including Iowa State.
Only the top eight teams make it to the Big 12 tournament, and Iowa State currently stands at ninth place in the Big 12 ahead of Kansas State. The Cyclones are two games behind Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas Christian and Oklahoma.
Cyclones moving on from close losses
At certain points in both games against the Texas Longhorns and the Baylor Bears, the Cyclones played to their level. However, the Cyclones came up short and lost both games late. Texas scored a goal in 87th minute to win, and Baylor scored a goal in the second overtime to come out on top.
"It comes down to little things, and they know that," said coach Tony Minatta.
The Cyclones have been very close to winning some of their recent games but have lost four of their last six games by one goal.
"They're disappointed because they've let a couple of games slip away," Minatta said. "It's frustrating, but their motivated heading into the West Virginia game."
Cyclones are healthy
Throughout the entire season, the Cyclones have not been 100 percent healthy as players such as senior co-captain Riley Behan and juniors Hannah Cade and Kasey Opfer are either still injured or have missed significant time due to injury.
Opfer has returned from her injury, but Behan and Cade are still out. The Cyclones are hopeful that Behan and Cade can return to the field this season.
Having some players back that have been out recently could make a big difference in the Cyclones' four remaining games.
"It’s awesome to know that some players are coming back and that we have them,” said senior co-captain Emily Steil.
Final four games are make or break
The Cyclones are two games out of Big 12 tournament contention and must go at least 2-2 in those games in order to qualify for the Big 12 tournament, which is something the Cyclones came just short of doing last season.
Iowa State has two home games and two road games left this season, with the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Kansas State Wildcats coming to Ames, and the Cyclones traveling to face the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
This slate of crucial games for the Cyclones begins with West Virginia coming to Ames on Friday night.
The Mountaineers were picked to win the Big 12 and are currently tied with Baylor for first place. The Cyclones were outmatched in last year’s game, as the Mountaineers came out victorious 4-0 in Morgantown, West Virginia.
“They are an outstanding team, they have a lot of special players,” Opfer said.
The Sooners and Cowboys are 2-2-1 in Big 12 play, while the Cyclones are 0-4-1. The Cyclones will face Oklahoma on October 19 and Oklahoma State on October 21.
On October 25, Iowa State hosts Kansas State, who is currently in last place in the Big 12 with a 0-4 record in Big 12 play. That game could be a “win and you're in" game, as both teams are currently vying for a spot in the Big 12 tournament.