Defense propels ISU soccer to four shutouts so far in 2011

Dylan Montz

Defense is the name of the game so far in the 2011 Cyclone soccer season as Iowa State has now shutout its first four opponents of the season.

The most recent win for the Cyclones came against the No. 23 Washington Huskies by a score of 2-0 on Sunday. The Huskies (0-2-1) advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championships in 2010.

The Cyclones most consistent aspect of the game has been their defense. The emphasis for the team’s defense has been to put high pressure on the ball, provide help defense when the other team is attacking and to always stay active.

“It’s team defense and not just the back line,” said coach Wendy Dillinger. “A lot of our defense starts with our forwards putting pressure on their back line to prevent balls over the top. JD [sophomore Jennifer Dominguez], Britt [sophomore Brittany Morgan] and [freshman] Hayley [Womack] worked their tails off just to try to shut down the back line.”

Dillinger said the Cyclones have been building for this type of win and hopes that it will now earn Iowa State some respect on a national level. Dillinger gives credit for the win to consistency and more efficient game management.

The Cyclones scored two goals against the Huskies within a 10-minute span. The second goal, Dillinger said, was about teamwork and was exactly what the team needs to be ready to do at all times.

“We did everything right,” Dillinger said, referring to the goal. “We got behind the backs and JD outran the player to the corner, [sophomore] Margaret [Powers] blindsided her player, and Britt blindsided her player so we had three players doing exactly what they needed to do to create that goal.”

In addition to the players out in the field, Iowa State has been anchored by solid goalkeeping from sophomore Maddie Jobe. Jobe has a running streak of 550 straight minutes of play without a goal being allowed.

“[My successes] just show how strong our defense is getting,” Jobe said. “How you could see it at the end of last season and how we’ve come together and gotten better. The defense is a very close and connected group.”

Dillinger had nothing but praise for her goalie, and made it clear that her team has — and can — depend on her.

“Maddie is playing very, very well right now,” Dillinger said. “She is very confident, putting herself in good positions and she is covering the goal well. There was a dangerous play across the box and she saved. She had to dive to her back foot and she held it. If she doesn’t hold that ball, that’s a goal. We are very excited about the way she is playing right now.”