ISU soccer adjusts to new defensive strategy


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Freshman forward Maribell Morales makes a corner kick during the exhibition game against Omaha on Aug. 15. The Cyclones fell to the Mavericks 2-1.

Chris Wolff

The ISU defense faced a flurry of attacks in the final 10 minutes of its game against Iowa last weekend and successfully turned the attack away time and time again.

They have been rock solid all year, only allowing one opponent to score multiple goals against them.

“The defense has been great,” said senior goalkeeper Andrea Swanson. “They’re just all working really hard together, staying organized and playing really solid.”

Swanson has also been solid, recording the first shut out of the season against North Dakota State on Sept. 7.

The defense has been one of the team’s main point of emphasis this season. Coming into the season, coach Tony Minatta said the back line of defenders was the backbone of the team.

Now, the rest of the squad is pitching in on the defensive end of the field.

“We talk about defense a lot,” Minatta said. “Its not just the defenders, it’s the entire team playing defense whenever we don’t have the ball.”

The Cyclones will rely on that defense once again this weekend as they head to Colorado for a two-game road trip. First up will be the University of Northern Colorado on Sept. 12 followed up by a matchup with Denver University on Sept. 14.

Minatta said that Denver is a perennial top-25 team and Northern Colorado is typically a top team in the Big Sky Conference.

“We just need to come out hard, play at a high level and play the full 90 minutes,” said junior Haley Albert of the upcoming games.

The Cyclones will get a big boost as freshman forward Maribell Morales is healthy again and expected to return to the pitch.

Morales, who Minatta expected to be a major goal scorer for the Cyclones this season, suffered a shoulder injury in the second game of the season.

Morales’ return comes with an unfortunate trade off as sophomore forward Adalie Schmidt will be out with a dislocated elbow. Schmidt had scored three goals and one assist while replacing Morales.

While the injury news was disappointing to Minatta, he remains confident in the players he will have on the field this weekend.

“Each game, it always seems to be a different player stepping up … the way we can play, it can come from anybody at anytime,” Minatta said.

The Cyclones are coming off three straight wins, a trend they hope to continue through the weekend. In order to do that, Albert said they will need to move on from the past matches and focus solely on the next match.

“Its great that we got those wins, but now we need to forget about them and move on,” Albert said. “We need to stay focused on the next opponent and keep raising our level of play each game.”