Soccer club RV’s to national tournament

Jeff Raasch

The true test for a team is to play just one day after a 1500-mile road trip.

The ISU men’s soccer club, which is strapped for cash, took a less than optimal mode of transportation to get to the Association of Collegiate Club Soccer National Tournament in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Nov. 17-19.

“To get there, we drove in an RV for like 24 hours,” midfielder Eric Olson said.

As if “RV-lag” wasn’t enough, the club was shorthanded because of injuries. The Cyclones had only 14 players available, which left just three substitutes.

ISU head coach Sandro Bassanini said fatigue caused by the long road trip was “absolutely” a factor.

He attributed the loss to LaCrosse directly to that reason.

The club overcame the consequences and placed third in the 16-team field.

Iowa State got off to a rocky start on the first day of the tournament against Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

Back on Sept. 22, the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie in Ames.

The Cyclones weren’t as fortunate this time, and suffered a 1-0 heartbreaker.

Iowa State was back on the field later that night to take on California-Long Beach.

Long Beach led 1-0 at half-time, but that lead disappeared less than a minute into the second half. Iowa State added two more goals and went on to win, 3-1.

Olson said that he felt the Long Beach game was the Cyclones’ best performance of the tournament.

Bassanini went one step further, calling the win against Long Beach the best performance Iowa State has had all season. Long Beach eventually went on to claim the national title.

Just 13 hours later the victory against Long Beach, the Cyclones were back in action against Texas-Brownsville. Olson said the team was confident that they could prevail, but noted that many team members were sore from the previous day.

The ISU squad fell to Texas-Brownsville, 5-3.

“We definitely could have beat them,” Olson said. “We didn’t play as well as we could have.”

The Cyclones fourth game wasn’t a game at all. Wisconsin-Stevens Point forfeited the match due to a lack of healthy players.

The forfeit gave Iowa State a 2-0 decision and set up a showdown between the Cyclones and Wisconsin-Eau Claire for third place.

The Cyclones held the edge in the season series, taking two from Eau Claire.

The most recent victory was on Oct. 28 at the regional tournament.

Olson said the club anticipated a battle from Eau Claire, because they had more healthy players. Eau Claire didn’t disappoint.

The Cyclones won in dramatic fashion on a goal by Matt Powers in the second overtime.

The freshman said it all started with a pass from teammate Kent Mickelson.

“I got a really good ball from Kent,” Powers said. “I could have taken the shot right away, but I cut it back to get a better angle.”

After that, Powers said he made the biggest shot of his career.

Big enough to get carried off the field?

“I think they were probably too tired to do that,” he said.

“That was unbelievable,” said Bassanini, speaking of Powers’ goal. “He went down the left side and dribbled through three guys.”

The goal propelled Iowa State to a 2-1 victory and their best finish ever.

Bassanini said he is extremely proud of his team and has seen them come a long way.