Standing tall: Haley Albert bolsters defense for ISU soccer


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

No. 33, ISU sophomore midfielder Haley Albert, heads the ball during the 1-0 win against Baylor on Oct. 18 at the Cyclone Sports Complex.

Beau Berkley

The offense might often get the majority of the credit, but the ISU soccer team’s defense has held its own recently, too.

Iowa State has outscored its last two opponents by a margin of 5-1, spurred by senior midfielder Emily Goldstein’s three goals against Oklahoma and her goal in overtime that broke the 0-0 tie against Baylor last week.

After the game against the Sooners, Goldstein was named the conference player of the week, and freshman forward Koree Willer was named the newcomer of the week.

While Goldstein has been showing her offensive prowess on the opponent’s end of the field, the other side has been anchored by a stout defense that has only allowed one goal in the last two games.

Iowa States’ defensive skill was on display last Friday when they shut out Baylor, denying 12 corner kicks throughout the game.

With the Bear offense constantly attacking the goal on corners, the defense relied on 6-foot-1-inch sophomore Haley Albert to be the first one to the ball. More often than not, she was successful.

“Usually I try to stay behind somebody so they don’t really see it coming, but I obviously have the height advantage, so I try to use my body a lot,” Albert said. “It’s kind of natural because I’ve been doing it for such a long time because I’ve always been taller than everybody else.

“Even in kindergarten, I was always taller than all the boys and all the girls.”

Not one to keep her talents contained to one end of the field, Albert has also had two goals this season off of corner kicks. The first came against Texas Tech with her team down two goals, bringing the game to a 2-1 score.

The second goal for Albert was an equalizer in a game against in-state rival Drake, which ended in a 1-1 tie.

“It’s so difficult for our opponents to get to the ball because of her,” said ISU coach Wendy Dillinger. “They have to get by her, over her; they have to get her out of the way. She doesn’t win every single one, but she makes it difficult for the other team to do anything productive with it.”

Last year at this time, Albert was sitting on the sideline after tearing her ACL for the fourth time since she was in eighth grade. Her trainer tried to coax her into thinking long term: How would it affect her future?

The coaches were aware of the risk, as was Albert, but after rehabbing and watching her team from the outskirts, Albert made the decision to keep going.

“I see a lot of determination in Haley especially after she tore her ACL last year late in the season,” Goldstein said. “She came into this year wanting to get her starting spot back, and defensively she is huge for us.”

Albert and the rest of the Cyclones will be vying for their third-straight conference win at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, when Iowa State travels to take on Texas Christian in Fort Worth, Texas.