SOCCER: Nimtz returns for weekend matches

The Iowa State soccer team defends its goal while playing against Montana at the ISU Soccer Complex on Sunday, August 30, 2009. Photo: Shing Kai Chan/Iowa State Daily

Shing Kai Chan

The Iowa State soccer team defends its goal while playing against Montana at the ISU Soccer Complex on Sunday, August 30, 2009. Photo: Shing Kai Chan/Iowa State Daily

David Merrill

Senior forward Amanda Nimtz has been forced to support her team from the sidelines during Iowa State’s 1-0-2 start. When the Cyclones try to pull an upset over No. 20 DePaul tomorrow night at 7 p.m., at the ISU Soccer Complex, she will be able to join her team on the field.

Nimtz is returning from corrective surgery to her ankle and this will be her first game back after her injury. DePaul started the season 3-0-1, including an upset win against then No. 12 Missouri.

“It’s huge (for me),” Nimtz said.  “It’s my senior year so you got to go out full force. I’m really glad to be back.”

Nimtz admits it has been difficult watching the action from the sidelines.

“It’s really hard considering you’ve played with your class for four years; you just want to be out there and play with the new freshmen and be a part of the action,” Nimtz said.

Coach Wendy Dillinger describes Nimtz as a dynamic player who will be able to contribute to the Cyclone’s attack, even if she won’t be at full speed yet.

The Blue Demons are coached by Erin Chastain, the sister-in-law of U.S. womens soccer star Brandi Chastain, and they bring a speed and physical dynamic that will challenge the Cyclones. Junior forward Tara Strickland and Senior forward Shannon Williams will be the opposing players that the Cyclones need to keep under control.

“We’re going to need to win the battle at the midfield and defensively we just have to play smart; play safe but play aggressive. They have a couple of fast forwards up front,” Dillinger said.

The Cyclones will try to counter the Blue Demons attack by spreading the field as much as possible and try to get them to chase the ball. Dillinger feels that if they are able to get them to chase, it will create one-on-one situations with the goalies.

When the two teams met last season in Chicago, Iowa State was able to walk away with a 3-1 victory.

The Cyclones are led defensively by senior goalkeeper Ann Gleason and sophomore defender Mary Kate McLaughlin. Sophomore defenders Amanda Mayberry and Megan Long have also been effective in defending the Cyclone goal so far this season.

“(Mary Kate) is an incredible presence. She’s about five-foot-10-inches, quick, strong, physical and she works incredibly hard all the time; no matter what she’s doing. She’s just a great leader all the way around,” Dillinger said.

Keeping Williams away from the goal is a key to Iowa State’s success.

“We have a good back line and have some speed to start out with, but we’ve definitely recognized that she is a good player. We’re going to try to stay tight on her and try not to let her turn, not let her have much leeway and play to our strengths,” McLaughlin said.

The tandem of Jordan Bishop and Casey Bothwell has been creating chances on goal for the Cyclones this season, but the team would like to see those two get more action inside the box.

“Jordan’s all over the field all the time. She plays both sides of the ball very well; if we need something done, she’s usually the player we look to to get things done. We’d like to have Casey have a little more effect on offensively, She’s very skilled and we need to get her the ball more often. They’re both key players in our offense and in order for us to be successful on offense, those two have to be involved,” Dillinger said.