It’s not about how the game starts, it’s about how it finishes.
Unfortunately, that saying rang true for the Iowa State Cyclones (1-3) soccer team on Sunday as they dropped a tight 2-1 match to the Purdue Boilermakers (4-0) after leading at half.
“We started off real strong, we shook the lineup up to start, but we need to clearly get a second half starting group figured out because they didn’t take the field ready to go at all,” said coach Tony Minatta.
The Cyclones took a 1-0 lead into the intermission, but lacked that same intensity in the second, leading Purdue to get more chances at the goal and ultimately the win.
The lineup changes that Minatta referred to involved freshman Mira Emma, Lauren Holleran and Kenady Adams becoming starters.
The 2019 Cyclones are a young squad, with 21 of 31 players on the roster being underclassmen, including 11 true freshmen.
“College soccer is different for our freshmen than club in that your legs are dead on Sunday even with the two-day break and you have to mentally be there even more since you aren’t able to as much physically,” said senior Hannah Cade.
Cade scored the lone goal for Iowa State, her first of the season.
That goal went along with four shots, showing her ability to get in position to score.
“We just need to build on the first half today and put a full game together because I know we have the talent and confidence to do it,” Cade said.
The Boilermakers came into the match up with three straight victories, including blowouts over Toledo (4-0) and DePaul (3-0).
Even before those performances, Purdue received three votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches' Rankings last week, just missing out on the Top 25.
The goal that Iowa State scored was the first one that the Boilermakers had allowed all season.
Nonetheless, the game plan against the Boilermakers was to limit shot opportunities and get the ball to their forwards but the defense of the Cyclones broke down in the second period.
“You can’t allow a team like that to run at your back line and expect our back line to just keep holding them and holding them,” Minatta said.
The loss comes after a heart-breaking 2-1 loss to in-state rival Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday.
In that game, the Cyclones put up 10 shots compared to the Hawkeyes' 18.
Against Purdue, Iowa State could only muster 8 shots and gave Purdue 21, including 14 in the second half.
“At the end of the day, we went into the second half a bit lax, and going forward, we just need to make sure that we keep our energy up and step to every ball outside of 18 to stop goals,” said junior goalkeeper Dayja Schwichtenberg.
Schwichtenberg was credited with nine saves, which is impressive but also a cause of worry because there should not be that many shots coming.
Schwichtenberg led the Big 12 last year in saves, averaging almost five a game.
“Luckily, we still got a lot of time to figure this rotation stuff and little things out before we get into conference play,” Minatta said.
Heading forward, it will be interesting to see how the Cyclones make rotational adjustments to try and put a full game together.