ISU soccer victorious in senior send-off game

Elliott Fifer

With their numbers painted in the grass along the sideline, Iowa State’s five seniors took the field Sunday for the last time at the ISU Soccer Complex.

They left on a high note, earning a 3-1 victory over the Baylor Bears and snapping a three-game conference losing streak.

The seniors – midfielders Brittanie Waddell and Stephanie Kaphingst, forwards Erin Witte and Maggie McManemin, and defender Beth Passman – were then recognized after the game for their contributions to Cyclone soccer.

“It was really sad – it was emotional,” Witte said of the experience of playing in her last home game.

That was a sentiment shared throughout the team.

“It was really emotional,” said Passman, who moved into a tie for ninth on the ISU all-time games-played list by playing in her 76th game. “I’m just happy that we got to go out on a win. Everyone played really hard and it’s just a fun game to go out on.”

Coach Rebecca Hornbacher, who participated in the post-game ceremony by giving her seniors hugs and bouquets of roses, said she was pleased to see her team win on Senior Day.

“Overall, I think the team went out there and wanted to give the seniors a win for our last home game of the season,” Hornbacher said. “I’m pleased with where we’re at right now. We’ve got some tough games on the road ahead of us, but we’re going to enjoy this win while we have it right now. I think it was a great send-off for the seniors.”

Iowa State took a season-high 25 shots in one of their most consistent offensive efforts of the year. Sophomore Lauren Odino scored the Cyclones’ first goal in the 36th minute, followed four minutes later by freshman Jordan Bishop’s second goal of the year.

In the 67th minute, Bishop made a move to beat a defender just outside the box and serve a cross to Witte, who finished the play with a header goal to put Iowa State up 3-0.

“It was really special. I was so pumped,” Witte said. “All my teammates put it all out on the field for us as seniors. It’s just so nice to know that we have a team that will back us up 100 percent when we need the win, and from here on out, I know that I can count on them to give it their all.”

Hornbacher said this core of senior leadership has played a vital role in putting ISU soccer on the map.

“This group of seniors is a very diverse group, all coming from different states, and all having different personalities,” she said. “They have contributed so much and have been a part of bringing our team to national prominence and making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. I feel that they’re doing a great job of bringing us back to where we need to be and leading our team this year.”

The seniors themselves said they have grown extremely close during their time in the Cyclone soccer program.

“We have tons of memories and practical jokes that we’ve played on each other,” Passman said. “We have so much fun with each other and we all love each other so much. Really, [the seniors] are like family.”

They have grown so close that regardless of what happens after they graduate, the bond they have created will stay intact.

“We’re definitely going to keep in contact,” Witte said. “It’s a family, and you don’t want to lose that relationship.”

Iowa State will now focus on qualifying for the Big 12 Tournament, which can be done by finishing in the top eight in the conference. The Cyclones are currently tied for fifth with Oklahoma State. Road games at Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska are all that remain before the conference tournament begins on Nov. 7.

“We kept saying it before the game – this is where we start, this is where we win out, this is where we get our points, because we are focusing on making the Big 12 Tournament right now,” Witte said.