Cyclones struggle to put two strong halves together

Then-junior midfielder Hannah Cade kicks the ball during a free kick against the Milwaukee Panthers in their game Sept. 9.

John Miller, , J_Miller_8

It has been a tale of two halves for the Iowa State Cyclones soccer team this year. 

In the last two games, both of which were close losses, Iowa State had a poor half that allowed the other team to pull ahead.

“It is tough to win when you put yourself at that disadvantage for half the game, but we just have to maintain our energy going forward,” said coach Tony Minatta. 

Against Iowa, Iowa State was outshot 12-2 in the first half and struggled to get the ball past the midfield.

As for Purdue, Iowa State had a similar problem, being limited to four shots in the second half. 

According to senior Hannah Cade, one of the reasons for the breakdown was the lack of energy and communication. 

“The mental and communication becomes even more important, especially when you are physically tired from a game on Thursday,” Cade said. 

The Cyclones, currently sitting at 1-3, are looking forward to the upcoming games against Creighton and Omaha for the chance to get back to .500. 

However, Minatta said he does not want his team to get caught up in the wins and losses of the game.

“If you think must-win or start chasing wins, then it is harder to obtain the standards that you set for yourself,” Minatta said. 

Iowa State has played a difficult non-conference schedule, scattered with opponents clinging to a much higher Rating Percentage Index than the Cyclones themselves. 

Purdue received 18 votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches’ Poll Rankings, putting them at No. 35 in the polls stretched that far. 

Those rankings put into context the growth that the Cyclones have made that they were to not only compete, but be in a position where they had a chance to win the game. 

“At the end of the day, it is really about keeping our composure and coming together even more to learn from those games,” said junior goalkeeper Dayja Schwichtenberg. 

Even in Iowa State’s lone victory this year against the University of California-Irvine Anteaters, the Cyclones looked sluggish on offense in the first half but were able to generate a goal through sustained pressure in the second half to win in the end.

With a fountain of youth on the squad, which includes 11 freshmen, the Cyclones are still figuring out their lineups as well, which could add to the difficulties the team is having adjusting from half to half. 

In the eyes of many players, the team believes they can do it; it is just a matter of executing. 

“We just came off two really hard-fought games that everyone felt upset afterwards,” Cade said. “So that energy is gonna go into these next couple games and we just need to do what it takes as a team to get it done.”

The Cyclones’ next chance to pull together two halves comes Friday night when they take on Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska.