The Cyclones head into the week with a 3-10 record and a 0-4 Big 12 record following their loss to Kansas State on Friday. Up next for Iowa State soccer is Oklahoma, who comes into the week with a 7-5-3 record on the season and 2-2-1 in Big 12 play.
The Cyclones and the Sooners have one thing in common so far this season: finding themselves in close games.
For Iowa State, 10 of its 13 games played this season have been decided by one goal — and some of the outcomes in those 10 games were decided in overtime. As for Oklahoma, 13 of its 15 games played have been decided by one goal or less, as the Sooners have ended three games in a tie.
If history is to repeat itself, the matchup between the Cyclones and the Sooners could end up being a close one. The Cyclones haven’t had the best luck when they have to close out games, but they said they know what they have to do if the game comes to the point where it’s tied — especially if they take the lead to start, like they did against TCU and Kansas State.
“We need to make sure we’re keeping that same fire and intensity, because obviously when you score and it’s a conference game, the next five minutes, the other team is coming at you hard,” said coach Tony Minatta. “You [have] got to be able to weather that five minutes, break their momentum and then regain your confidence and composure.”
A crucial task Iowa State needs to complete if it wants to take the game is continue taking advantage of their scoring opportunities, which has been a struggle for the team throughout the season.
One thing going in favor of Iowa State is it's coming off two straight games with a score. The two scores were courtesy of junior forward Courtney Powell, who snuck one past the goalkeeper against TCU and fired it in against Kansas State.
“In these past few games where we’re up 1-0 and we have that lead, I think we get too comfortable,” Powell said. “I think in the attack, getting more shots off and finding more placement in the goal, that way we can that lead up to a 2-or-3-0 lead.”
On the season, the Cyclones have only netted eight goals through their 13 games while the Sooners have netted 20 goals in their 15 games.
The Cyclones have done a better job lately with pressuring opposing goalkeepers with their scoring opportunities, but they haven’t gotten the ball into the net as many times as they’ve wanted to.
“I think we just need to keep that lead when we do make that lead happen and rally together when we do have those one goal leads and just keep that way and not let up in the final minutes of the game,” said junior forward Tavin Hays.
The matchup on Thursday is going to be an important game for the Cyclones if they have their eyes set on making an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Tournament, especially since the Cyclones are still hunting for their first conference win and trying to snap their current five game losing streak.
Iowa State has had plenty of matches that could have gone in its favor, but it hasn’t found a way to keep control.
“When you’ve been up 1-0 and the other team comes back, you got to break that trend and that cycle somehow, and I think once we do that, you’re really going to see the team take off,” Minatta said. “So just keep working, staying positive and keep moving forward.”
The Cyclones will host Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Cyclone Sports Complex.