Having played eight non-conference matches so far with a record of 3-5, the Iowa State soccer team is looking to improve upon that record as they enter conference play this week.
Iowa State is set to face West Virginia in its first conference match this Friday, and head coach Matt Fannon is looking forward to it, despite inconsistent performances so far this season.
Consistency lacking in the first portion of the year
While the Cyclones have shown flashes of what they are capable of on the pitch, the team hasn’t been particularly consistent when it comes to their performances. They have shown improvement in areas each game but would then fall back the next game, which Fannon has noticed.
“We’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way,” Fannon said. “We’ve got things right then realized why we got them right, then gone away from it for some reason and not really stayed consistent.”
One thing that Fannon feels the team has done a good job with this season is preparing the scouting reports and following through on the game plan in each game.
“We’ve been pretty consistently good in matching the scouting reports but there’s a thousand ways a team can hurt you, and if we only go with what's written in front us then we’re not learning quickly enough,” Fannon said.
“I think that moving forward we know we need our best performance every game, because it’s the Big 12, it’s a really good soccer conference.”
Fannon also said the team needs to come to terms with the fact that if they play at their best, they will win, but if they don’t play at their best, they will lose.
Freshman showing improvements
The Cyclones have a strong freshman class of eight players who each play a big role for the team this season. The freshman class has directly contributed to all seven goals the Cyclones have scored through the first eight games.
While this year's freshman class has shown what they are capable of, Fannon still sees some inconsistencies that he believes are part of the learning curve for collegiate soccer.
“I think we have a freshman class that are full of freshman, the stereotypical part of it where they struggle with inconsistency,” Fannon said. “That’s very normal for freshman and it takes them some time.”
“I don't want the old cliché of ‘the future’s bright’ and ‘we’re going to be good in a bit,’ we need them to be consistent because they’re playing for us. They’ve got to figure it out like we all have to figure it out, me included.”
Fannon knows just how much talent there is in that group but acknowledges that talent and consistency are two very different things.
He knows that the group has the potential to become great consistent players; he feels they just need to get out on the pitch and prove it.
“Potential literally means you haven’t done it yet and we need them to do it.”