Soccer team aims to improve on last season

Darrin Cline

Iowa State’s program is not known as a soccer dynasty. It has only been around since 1996, and has only turned in five winning seasons up to the present.

However, the 2011-2012 squad will be fueled by young blood, and its members are ready to strike in the Big 12.

“We ended off the spring season really well. We had some good wins and we all improved quite a bit. I feel like for this upcoming fall it’s only going to continue, and [we’ll] definitely get more wins and get to the Big 12 tournament,” said forward Jennifer Dominguez.

The Cyclones, who went 8-10-2 overall and 3-7-0 in Big 12 play last season, will return their top five goal scorers. Emily Goldstein, a sophomore from Orange County, Calif., made the most of her first year on campus. Goldstein led the team with six goals and 17 total points.

Goldstein and her fellow first-year teammates pleasantly surprised coach Wendy Dillinger and her staff. Brittany Morgan, Theresa Kucera, Caitlin Graboski and Dominguez rounded out the ranks of the top five scorers. All will be returning this season.

“It’s really positive, because we know that in years to come we will continue to get better because we still have those scorers coming in,” said sophomore midfielder Graboski. “That’s why it’s good for this year, because they are sophomores and juniors, so then we will still have them for next year.”

Netminder Maddie Jobe will also be returning to the goalie box. Jobe, a former Minnesota Ms. Soccer, started in seven of the team’s eight wins, allowing opponents an averge of 1.54 goals.

Inconsistency on both ends of the pitch kept the Cyclone women from adding games to the win column. Overall, the squad allowed 1.4 goals per game, while only retaliating with 1.3 on the season.

Heading into conference play, the Dillinger’s team had a 5-3-2 record. Once Big 12 games began, Iowa State fell in seven of its first eight games, before turning the tide and winning its last two.

Graboski points to the team’s youth as a possible explanation, but not something it can use as an excuse going forward.

Graboski and her cohorts stood at the bottom of the Big 12 in nearly every statistical category. However, the two-game win streak at the end of last season gave the women momentum they aim to carry into the coming season.

“I would say the biggest goal is to get into the playoffs and not be on the edge like we were last year,” Graboski said. “We will definitely get in and not be done so early.”


Adding to this fury will be a full crop of talented freshmen. There are 11 rookies who have been added to the roster. The class is highlighted by three Iowa preps, along with players from as far away as Texas and Mississippi. Graboski said the incoming athletes are “good finishers” who will afford their team “a lot more scoring opportunities.”

“Having a big class come in guarantees that no spot is set in stone and that there’s going to be competition from day one till the end of the season,” Dominguez said.

The 2011 season will commence on August 6 with the Alumni Game in Ames. The team will begin competitive play at Drake on August 19, followed by their home opener on August 21.