Iowa State soccer huddle Memphis 2021

Iowa State soccer players huddle together ahead of their game vs. No.15 Memphis on Sept. 9.

Following the Iowa State Cyclones’ 1-0 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks, the Cyclones are now looking ahead to a tough challenge against the Texas Longhorns.

The Cyclones recorded their first win and clean sheet in the Big 12 this season after a complete performance on both sides of the ball. The team was able to control the tempo of the game when on the ball, and put in some tough tackles and win the ball back consistently on defense.

There were a lot of positives from the Kansas game, and although it wasn’t a perfect match, there is a lot to take from it heading into Friday’s match at Texas. 

Complete performance vs. Kansas

While the match against Kansas was not perfect, according to Iowa State Head Coach Matt Fannon, the team played very well and deemed it a complete performance following the final whistle Sunday.

“We’ve had games where we played really well one half, really well when we’re feeling good then panicked when we’re not feeling so well and I think that Sunday was a game that we did really well on both sides of the ball,” Fannon said. “On top of that I think when we were on top in the game we got the goal, we didn’t give away big chances or easy chances and more than anything we didn’t give away a goal.”

This marked the first and well-deserved clean sheet for the Cyclones and goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz as the defense has been playing well throughout the course of the season.

Defender Taylor Bee also mentioned how the team was able to complete one of their goals this season in that performance against Kansas.

“I would say one of the biggest goals we’ve had as a team is to put together a full 90 minutes,” Bee said. “We’d either play a really good first half and not so good second half, or the opposite, so that game was one of the first times this season we won all of our big moments so that was huge for us.”

The Cyclones will have to try and replicate that performance this Friday against Texas, given that Texas is one of the strongest teams in the conference. The team has already proved they can battle with some of the best teams, as shown in their overtime loss to Memphis, so this week they will need to make sure they are at their best.

Fannon mentioned that although the Longhorns are a strong team, the Cyclones are headed into the match with a little more confidence from Sunday’s performance. 

“Texas is a different animal, they’re a team that is consistently full of world class players,” Fannon said. “We know that they're really good but I think we’re going in with a good amount of confidence from this weekend. To play as well as we did and get the result on Sunday I think is another reason that we feel confident headed into this game.”

Cyclones are a different team 

Since the start of the season back in August, both the players and Fannon feel that the team has progressed immensely. The team has started to look more comfortable in games, and there have been a lot of moments of link-up play that is pure chemistry between the squad that can’t be written in a game plan. 

Taylor Bee mentioned how the team’s mentality is one of the reasons for the progression we’ve seen from the squad since the first 2-0 win against UC Santa Barbara.

“I honestly think one of the biggest things is mental toughness,” Bee said. “Obviously, the beginning of the season hasn’t gone how we wanted it to and instead of that letting us be defeated and not respond, it’s kind of fueled our fire and given us motivation.”

Taylor Bee Oklahoma State 2021

Taylor Bee moves the ball against Oklahoma State on Sept. 30. Iowa State soccer had its game against the Cowgirls postponed due to inclement weather.

Fannon also spoke on how he feels the team is much different than what we saw against UC Santa Barbara.  

“I feel like we’re a completely different team,” Fannon said. “We went into that first game and we had seven or eight people play in that first game that had never played a minute of college soccer before. A lot of it was pure energy going into that and I think they’re learning day by day what it's going to be.”

“When you have a third of the team that’s brand new it’s not going to mesh perfectly and I think we feel very confident in the years moving forward but we also have no interest in being patient enough to wait for those years, we want to get after it now.”

Fannon has instilled a winning mentality into the squad over the course of last season and into this one, which has had a real impact. The players want to win, and they all know they have what it takes to become a winning team very soon.

The match against Texas will be a real test of their mentality and quality, but with the faith Fannon and the squad have in each other, the Cyclones should not be written off so easily.

That match is scheduled for a kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday as the Cyclones hope to improve upon their last match and earn themselves a win against a strong Texas team.

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