Women’s soccer heads south to start conference


Tiffany Herring/Iowa State Daily

Sophomore forward Koree Willer runs the ball down the field during Iowa State’s 2-1 loss to South Dakota State on Sept. 21 at the Cyclone Sports Complex. This game ended the soccer team’s nonconference schedule.

Chris Wolff

After a disappointing loss to South Dakota State, the Cyclones (6-4, 0-0) will transition from the nonconference schedule to the always tough Big 12 conference schedule.

The conference schedule doesn’t start off easy for the Cyclones, who will hit the road for matches against Oklahoma State and Baylor on Sept. 26 and 28, respectively.

“Oklahoma State is one of the most successful Big 12 programs,” said ISU coach Tony Minatta. “They have been really consistent and played a really tough schedule so they are battle tested.”

Oklahoma State comes into the matchup with a 4-6 record, but the Cowgirls are 4-2 at home this season.

Iowa State comes into the matchup being tested themselves, playing opponents like Iowa, University of Southern California and Ole Miss.

As the team transitions into the conference schedule, Minatta said that the number of substitutions will shrink, leaving the team’s best players out on the field a little bit longer against the higher level competition.

“We’re going to keep our top performers on the field a little bit longer, so it’s going to be a struggle going from [Sept. 26] to [28] with those added minutes,” Minatta said.

Things don’t get any easier for the Cyclones after the Oklahoma State game as they will take on the Baylor Bears (6-3-1), who have yet to lose on their home field this season (4-0-1).

Baylor ended ISU’s season last year in the Big 12 conference tournament.

“We know they are both good teams,” said freshman forward Maribell Morales. “We need to come out as strong as possible and play the full 90 minutes as hard as we can.”

With back-to-back tough games and a shrinking number of substitutes, playing the full 90 minutes with only one day off in between will be a difficult task for the Cyclones. Still, Iowa State is solely focusing on playing its brand of soccer.

“We have to learn to play our style no matter the team, so that’s a huge takeaway going into the Big 12 and just having the right mindset that we have to come out hard each game,” said ISU forward Koree Willer.

The Cyclones have high expectations going into the conference schedule and aren’t bashful about it. The Cyclones, who returned to the Big 12 tournament last season for the first time since 2007, are hoping to carry that momentum through this season as well.

“There is no reason we shouldn’t finish in the top part of the conference,” Willer said. “I know there are really good teams in the conference, but I feel like we are right there with them.”