A rocky start to the Big 12 Conference play has left coach Tony Minatta and the Cyclones in a tough position.
The injuries have piled up for the Cyclones this year, but recovering doesn’t seem to be a problem. Junior midfielder Hannah Cade has missed a couple games now due to a foot injury, but she is expected to come back sooner than originally expected.
Minatta said she could see playing time this weekend and she is already running. This is big for the Cyclones who thought they had lost one of their key players for possibly the whole season.
Senior captain Riley Behan is also ahead of schedule and is running for the first time since her preseason injury. She is expected back toward the end of the season as well.
Redshirt junior Kasey Opfer has been battling an injury and hasn’t fully recovered yet, but she is playing through it.
Freshman midfielder Megan Etrheim has also been battling an injury, but she might be able to play this weekend.
Although the injuries piled up, it seems the roster will be gaining its depth back soon.
Winning at home
The games this weekend against the University of Texas and Baylor University are tough ones. Baylor is ranked ninth in the country, while Texas is ranked No. 10.
The weakness Iowa State needs to exploit if it has any chance is Texas' ability to win on the road. Texas has only won one of its four road games this season and Baylor has only won two of six. Neither team has lost or drawn a home game.
Iowa State is playing in a conference where there is a plethora of talented teams, which will only continue through the remainder of the season. If Iowa State can use its home field to its advantage, then it might be able to steal a game this weekend.
Minatta addresses the shot concerns
Every game for the Cyclones during conference play has seen them thoroughly outshot by their opponents. In their most recent game against Kansas, they were outshot 17-4. Minatta isn’t worried.
“We’re playing a little bit different style,” Minatta said. “We’re not going to get as many shots.”
The Cyclones will be playing an “Italian 4-4-2,” which is a common formation that allows Minatta to focus it defensively or offensively. Minatta has put the emphasis on defense.
What this means is Minatta will accept losing the shot battle as for a more simplistic and clean formation. This also means he trusts his defense and goalkeeper to handle the heavy pressure that they face.
“Italy won four World Cups playing that way,” Minatta said.