ISU soccer team has seen the ball bounce both ways in past 2 weeks


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

No. 12, ISU freshman defender Madi Ott, fights to keep the ball away from Iowa State territory during the 1-0 win against Baylor on Friday at the Cyclone Sports Complex.

Alex Gookin

Stat sheets alone tell the last two ISU soccer games have been unordinary, to say the least.

The 1-1 record of the Cyclones during that time may come as no surprise, but the way it happened was much more improbable.

Against Baylor, Iowa State was forced to defend 21 shots and 12 corner kicks and only managed seven shots of their own. The Cyclones won 1-0 on a breakaway overtime goal.

Against Texas Christian, the Cyclones got a taste of their own medicine. Iowa State fired 22 shots, three of them bouncing off the crossbar, to TCU’s eight shots. The Horned Frogs won 1-0 on a breakaway second-half goal.

“It’s incredibly disappointing, but at the same time it wasn’t devastating,” said ISU coach Wendy Dillinger, regarding the TCU loss. “We played well enough to win and should have won. They caught the break against us, we got the break against Baylor.”

Senior defender Jessica Reyes could have caught the fewest breaks against TCU. Reyes led the team in shots, but also lead the team in heartbreaking misses with three of her shots bouncing off the crossbar.

“To be that close and not get a result is frustrating,” Reyes said. “It felt good that we were creating opportunities like that, but you just hope that one would go in.”

Iowa State has been on the wrong end of breaks a few times this season. Iowa State fell to Minnesota early in the season 1-0 on an own goal and came storming back down 2-1 against Texas Tech only to fall short on missed shots in the final minutes.

However, those two losses came before the Cyclones reached their peak. After a loss to Texas, the Cyclones went 2-1-2, racking up seven points in the Big 12 standings to put them in the top half of the league.

Instead of losing on costly mistakes or wrong bounces, the Cyclones were on the receiving end. Goalkeeper Maddie Jobe made critical saves against Kansas to keep them off the scoreboard and finish in a tie, and a win against Oklahoma got the Cyclones in the win column.

After the overtime win against a Baylor team Dillinger had praised as the toughest of the final three opponents, the Cyclones looked ready to finish the season on a streak. The Horned Frogs hit the Cyclones with a bit of reality.

“I think we all recognize that we played really well regardless of what the result was,” Reyes said. “I think there is a positivity about that. I think it came at a good time.

“We came off two wins and started getting comfortable, so to have that loss and still play really well, I think we will be able to bounce back from that.”

If nothing else, the team prepares for what will likely be an emotional game Friday. Iowa State will face Oklahoma State on senior night and the season finale.

The Cyclones haven’t beaten the Cowgirls since 2009, the senior class’ freshman year. The night will also be hard for Dillinger, as this was her first recruiting class and has a longer connection with the group than any other so far.

“For them to make the decision to come to a rebuilding program when many of them had opportunities to go to established programs is a unique mentality,” Dillinger said. “To make that decision to come here to make a difference is pretty special, so knowing that, I think it will be difficult.”

The seniors are also realizing the season is winding down. However, with the improvements made not only this season but throughout their careers, the ISU seniors are hoping to play a few more games before hanging up their jerseys.

“We’re not just going to the Big 12 tournament just to go, we want to make a statement,” Reyes said. “But to see our goal of getting to the Big 12’s finally achieved just feels really good.”