After losing against Creighton University in the dying minutes of Friday's match, the Cyclones found their best form against the University of Nebraska-Omaha as they defeated the Mavericks 1-0 Sunday at home.
Calm at the back
The Cyclones were composed at the back through all 90 minutes as junior goalkeeper Dayja Schwichtenberg only faced eight shots from the Mavericks thanks to the back four playing a complete game.
The Cyclones defense very rarely forced anything when absorbing pressure from the Mavericks.
Senior defender Carly Langhurst had a strong game as she made her defensive presence known to Omaha straight from kick-off. Langhurst was calm on the ball when pushing forward and made some well-timed tackles and interceptions to deny the Mavericks of any goal scoring opportunities.
“It’s a lot of communication,” Langhurst said. “The backline works together and we know each other's strengths and weaknesses.”
If the defense carries on in this form the Cyclones could add some much needed wins to their record this season. The Cyclones are sitting at 2-4 after the win against Omaha. Despite not starting off the way they would have wanted there is still a lot of time for improvement, and for coach Tony Minatta, Sunday's win was likely a step in the right direction.
Promising Cyclones' front line
Iowa State had a balance as the Cyclones recorded 26 shots and created chance after chance all 90 minutes. The front line of redshirt freshman Kenady Adams and freshman Mira Emma — accompanied on the wings by junior Courtney Powell and redshirt sophomore Abby Harbin — caused problems for the Mavericks' defense.
Freshman Mira Emma showed vision and passing ability by completing various through-balls to find teammates in open space. Emma’s technical abilities were also on display as she beat defenders off the dribble on multiple occasions to create space for herself to work with. Emma could become a crucial part of the team as time goes on, and she displayed that against Omaha.
Junior forward Courtney Powell also showed signs of what she’s capable of at the forefront of action against the Mavericks. Powell is very quick and can beat a defender with her pace and on-ball skills. Powell had three shots and rattled the crossbar on one of them, giving Omaha something to think about as the match carried on. Capable of beating a defender one-on-one, Powell can grow into an important part of the Cyclones' attack if she begins to perform consistently. With five career goals to her name, Powell (and Iowa State) will most certainly look add to that figure after her performance against the Mavericks.
“There’s a lot of young players coming up but we still need to step up our game and find our roles,” Emma said. “We definitely have a bunch of potential going forward.”
Consistency is key
The Cyclones have struggled this season with staying consistent over their first six games of the season, and coach Tony Minatta says there is only one word to describe how the team will carry on the momentum from this win.
“We have to be consistent with our effort, our energy and our mentality,” Minatta said. “If we can control those three things and be more consistent and put together 90 minutes of the quality we’ve seen, then we’ll be right where we need to be at.”
It has been a season of halves for the Cyclones as they’ve struggled to put together two quality halves of soccer in one match, but their win against Omaha may change that. Iowa State played well for 90 minutes, and with that game as a confidence booster and young players beginning to find their feet, the Cyclones could show improvements if they stay focused and consistent for the rest of the season.
The Cyclones’ consistency will be put to the test when they face Saint Louis at 7 p.m. Friday evening.