Cyclone soccer making ‘strides’ in 2011

Mary Kate McLaughlin dribbles down the field toward Kansas
territory during the game Sept. 26, 2010 at the ISU Soccer

Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Mary Kate McLaughlin dribbles down the field toward Kansas territory during the game Sept. 26, 2010 at the ISU Soccer Complex.

Cory Weaver

The Cyclone soccer team enters 2011 after improving its conference record for the second year in a row and senior captain Mary Kate McLaughlin said they plan to build off that progress this season as well.

“We made huge strides last year, absolute huge strides,” McLaughlin said at media day on Tuesday. “Like [coach] Wendy [Dillinger] said, when we came in this preseason, our goal was to build on what we already created, and that’s what we’re continuing to do.”

Last season, the team struggled through the second half of the season, managing to win just one of its first eight conference games. However, five of those seven losses were by just one goal. They finished with back-to-back wins against Baylor and Missouri to end the season to give the team several areas to improve in 2011-12.

“Our last game of the season, especially against Missouri with the 5-0 game, was that we were able to finally put a whole game together and just relax and play our game,” said sophomore midfielder Emily Goldstein. “So we need to go into this season just being consistent with our play and what we do on the field and we need to make sure that we’re consistent throughout the whole game and put a whole 90 minutes together not a 60-minute game and not lose it within the last 20 minutes of the game.”

Goldstein led all scorers in points and goals last season as a freshman, having received numerous honors including Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.

Experience is one factor that will also work into the team’s favor this season as well, considering the team had 13 freshmen on the roster last season. Dillinger said she believes that experience is going to be a key factor for them in this season.

“I think our sophomore class just having a year of experience playing in the Big 12, getting a lot of minutes and the maturity they’ve shown already this year is amazing,” Dillinger said.

The team already has a pair of games under its belt after playing two exhibition matches against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri State last Saturday. Several players pitched in to record 11 goals on the day.

One of those was freshman forward Addison Nokels, who said this year’s sophomore class has really helped her and the other freshmen get acclimated to the system.

“The sophomores now have been really great, they’ve helped us out a lot,” Nokels said. “They basically say bring your game and don’t be timid and afraid, do what you’ve got to do.”

The Cyclones square off against Drake on Friday night in Des Moines in their regular season opener, then return to Ames to face Northern Illinois on Sunday.