The Iowa State soccer team is amidst the roughest stretch of its season. After falling 1-0 to Oklahoma on Thursday night, the Cyclones can add another game into the list of matches just slipping through their fingers.
Iowa State has found itself in close games throughout the season. The loss to Sooners marked the eighth loss the Cyclones have taken by one goal.
The game against Oklahoma seemed like Iowa State could have taken control, but they ultimately caved to the Sooners after allowing a first half goal to Big 12 goal leader Kaylee Dao — her 13th goal of the season.
“It was a great soccer game; it’s frustrating to be on the losing end of a game like that because it was back and forth, it was a great match,” said coach Tony Minatta. “We gave up a very special goal to a very special player, somebody that’s been doing that in the conference the whole season.”
The Cyclones have fought all season to find those prime scoring opportunities and barely missed out on a few in Thursdays match, highlighted by a Mira Emma shot just being saved by the Oklahoma goalkeeper and a Megan Etrheim shot just sailed high of the goal.
Shot opportunities wasn’t only an issue for the Cyclones as well. Despite the goal scored by Dao for Oklahoma, the Sooners were in the same boat with the Cyclones in regard to finding multiple opportunities.
“When you have two teams that are very disciplined and organized defensively matched up one-vs-one, good one-vs-one players, it’s hard to get opportunities,” Minatta said.
Iowa State and Oklahoma ended the first half with a combined 10 shots — four shots for the Cyclones and six for the Sooners. The second half saw less production as Iowa State only managed two shots and Oklahoma managed five.
With games where neither team stands out offensively, the game comes down to who can control the pace and the ball.
“We’re all talented players, I think we need to have that confidence in ourselves and encourage each other and get that ball and move forward, be selfish with it and find the goal,” said senior midfielder Hannah Cade.
Whether it’s taking an early lead, like the games against Kansas State and TCU, or just being outlasted by their opponent — like the game against Texas Tech — the Cyclones seem poised to strike whenever. The team just can’t find the last thing needed to propel themselves forward.
As it’s been noted throughout the season, the Iowa State squad is a young one which has improved as a whole since the beginning of the season.
The team just seems to fall short in crunch time in those 90-minute battles.
For the players, it comes down to keeping their spirits high and knowing they’re in each game they play.
“Believe in ourselves and knowing we can do it,” said senior defender Carly Langhurst. “It’s not easy losing game after game after game and then trying to come out and think we can win. We need to believe in ourselves and move forward.”