Injuries derail the Cyclones again.
Iowa State soccer lost another player Friday after junior midfielder Hannah Cade went down with a foot injury.
It wasn’t the first injury the Cyclones sustained this season. Before the season started, senior captain Riley Behan went down with a leg injury she is still recovering from and most recently, redshirt junior midfielder Kasey Opfer suffered a quad injury, keeping her out of the past two games.
“Right now they’re looking at it as potentially a first-degree sprain,” said coach Tony Minatta.
A first-degree sprain would likely mean she would be out until the Big 12 Tournament. If it’s second degree, then she would need surgery and would likely be done for the season.
This injury comes at an especially bad time from the team's perspective because it comes right before conference play and right before Iowa State was set to get Opfer back.
Despite her position, Cade was able to play most of the game and even sometimes all of it due to her great stamina. She also was tied for the team lead in assists, and along with Emily Steil was one of the top choices to take free kicks and corner kicks.
“She’s such a technical player… she’ll still have a big role on the team even though it’s not on the field,” Opfer said.
The Cyclones will now have to lean on their depth to fill Cade’s position. On Saturday against Northern Iowa, sophomore midfielder Kassi Ginther started and recorded four shots. Sophomore defender McKenna Schultz also saw more action.
Minatta reiterated that it would not be easy to fill the void left by Cade, and it will have to be some sort of committee.
Senior midfielder and captain Emily Steil knows it will be an uphill battle with one of their stars out indefinitely.
“[Cade] just has that spark,” Steil said. “When you’re on the field you know she’s just [going to] work super hard.”
Steil is tied with Cade for the team lead in assists and also leads the team in goals. Cade and Steil are generally called on to take corner kicks and free kicks off of fouls, so they play a similar role on the team.
The silver lining in all of this is that they still have a player who can execute just as well as Cade can in those situations where they need someone to cross it and that is Steil.
It’s never a good thing for a team to lose such an important player, but this might light a spark underneath the team that they need if they are going to compete in the loaded Big 12.
“You can’t let down,” Minatta said. “You gotta rise above it.”