Iowa State senior Jordan Enga heads the ball during the first half against South Dakota State.

Iowa State soccer is now in must-win mode.

With the end of conference play fast approaching, the Cyclones will battle Oklahoma and Oklahoma State this weekend.

“They’re teams that we match up very well with,” said coach Tony Minatta. “If we are able to do what we need to do then we’ll be in the driver’s seat in terms of getting into the Big 12 tournament.”

What they need to do is win at least one of their matchups this weekend, and then win against Kansas State on Oct. 25. They need some more help as well.

Iowa State currently sits at ninth in the Big 12 conference, and only eight teams make it to the final tournament. They are currently two games behind Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, who are tied for the last two spots.

Whichever team they hypothetically beat this weekend needs to lose the remainder of their games to give the Cyclones some breathing room.

Interestingly, Iowa State has played only the top six teams in the conference and has come away with a couple of close losses and a tie. Now, against the bottom of the Big 12, they might be able to sneak their way in.

Redshirt sophomore defender Marin Daniel describes both matchups this weekend as physical ones that will require a lot of preparation.

“They’ll run us up and down the field,” Daniel said.

Daniel has transitioned smoothly to center back this season alongside senior captain Jordan Enga. Daniel played more midfield last season.

Soccer 10/12 8

Sophomore Marin Daniel kicks the ball across the field to keep the ball away from the goal nearby. The cyclones played West Virginia on Oct. 12 at the Cyclone Sports Complex and lost 0-2.

As for the attacking core, the Cyclones got one of their midfield wingers back last weekend in junior Hannah Cade.

Cade hadn’t played at all in conference play up until that point and had been out since early September with a foot injury.

“I just feel a lot better,” Cade said. “I’m excited that it wasn’t anything worse than what it was.”

However unfortunate the injury to Cade was for the team, the Cyclones are still hanging in the conversation for a spot in the tournament.

Even with Cade back, the Cyclones will continue to be shorthanded as they have been since the start of the season. The team has sorely missed one of their captains, senior defender Riley Behan, who hasn’t played yet in 2018 thanks to a foot injury.

Iowa State v Milwaukee 9.JPG

Hannah Cade looking for a teammate to pass to before Milwaukee players start to pressure her during the girls soccer game against the Milwaukee Panthers on Sept. 9.

“She’s getting out of the walking boot this week and we’ll see where she’s at from there,” Minatta said.

Iowa State has faced a lot of adversity this season, and their record mirrors that. The Cyclones can salvage the season with a strong finish.

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