ISU soccer focuses on improvement in Cy-Hawk game


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Senior goalkeeper Andrea Swanson kicks the ball back down the field during the game against Saint Louis on Aug. 31 at the Cyclone Sports Complex. The Cyclones defeated the Billikens 2-1. Swanson had two saves during the game.

Trey Alessio

The ISU women’s soccer program’s goal is not so much defeating its opponent Friday as it is improving as a team.

“For us, I think it’s about playing to the level that we’ve set for ourselves and the standard that we’ve created,” said ISU coach Tony Minatta. “We opened really strong against Mississippi State and haven’t necessarily been able to recreate that, so our main focus is just getting ourselves back to playing at that level where everybody’s clicking and doing their job.”

Minatta said his team won’t worry so much about the opponent, but it will be focused on the process of playing to its potential.

But everything else aside, it is still the Cy-Hawk rivalry and it is on peoples’ minds.

“I think it’s just a battle of pride,” said sophomore Koree Willer. “Anyone who goes to Iowa State or Iowa knows the relationship of any sport when you play each other. I think it’s a huge game, not only for our team to make strides, but for the school — you want to represent the school.”

The focus at practice this week hasn’t changed much on account of the Cy-Hawk rivalry. The Cyclones are still working on technical aspects, such as consistency and finishing.

“We’re pretty much training how we always train,” said senior Andrea Swanson. “I’d say I train just as hard. Obviously, you want your intensity to be the same at every practice, so that’s what I’m trying to do—just keep pushing myself.”

Iowa State lost 3-0 against the Hawkeyes last year, but it is expecting to bring the pride of the Cy-Hawk rivalry back to Ames this season.

“We expect to win,” Swanson said. “It’s just about coming out and playing consistently for 90 minutes to the level we know we’re capable of.”

Minatta said he wants Iowa State to get back to playing a full game where each player is performing at her highest level and is doing her job.

“I know how much this rivalry is and what it’s worth. It’s really cool to participate in,” Swanson said.

The Cyclones will take on the Hawkeyes  at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Cyclone Sports Complex for bragging rights in the first game of this year’s Cy-Hawk Series.