Mira Emma’s goal propels Cyclones to 1-0 victory over Jayhawks

Iowa State Junior Mira Emma plays vs Drake on August 29.

Adarsh Tamma

The Iowa State soccer team got its first victory in Big 12 play on Sunday with a 1-0 result against Kansas thanks to the play of Mira Emma.

The Cyclones earned the win with what head coach Matt Fannon called a truly complete performance against the Jayhawks.

“Frankly, our women were fantastic today,” Fannon said on his team’s play. “We defended incredibly well and we were really good on the ball. I think on the day, we were the better team in all areas of the field.”

While the Cyclones and Jayhawks combined for a total of 13 shots in the 90 minutes, Iowa State dominated the possession to keep Kansas from getting looks at a shot opportunity. The tight possession also led to a chippy second half which saw a total of 13 fouls called, highlighted by a hard shove from Kansas sophomore forward Brie Severns on Iowa State defender Taylor Bee.

Fannon spoke of the level of play that his team has faced in these grind-it-out-type matches.

“When you’re playing at this level, there aren’t any bad teams. The games are going to be close and teams are going to be difficult to break down,” Fannon said. “It’s the details that matter, the little moments, and I just think we did a really good job in all of them today.”

Led by a defense that contained the Jayhawks attacking play throughout the match, Iowa State looked to gradually move the ball up towards their own strikers, as has become their style this season.

The Cyclones finally got a good on-goal opportunity in the 28th minute when freshman Lauren McConnell slipped a ball into the 18-yard box towards sophomore Meghan Carl, who again back-heeled to junior midfielder Mira Emma. Emma immediately fired a blistering shot into the back of the net to record her second goal of the season, with Carl getting her first assist as a Cyclone.

“Meg played Lauren a great ball, and Lauren ended up taking a touch and brought three defenders with her,” said Emma. “I was just doing my job making a run to the PK spot. She [McConnell] ended up playing a great back-heel ball to me, and that’s my job in that situation to finish it off. I think that was the little spark to create fire going forward.”

Emma was once again all over the field against Kansas, providing a boost of energy for her team throughout the 90 minutes. The Wheaton, Illinois native finished the match with three shots to lead her team in that category, including two on-goal.

Fannon spoke highly of Emma’s presence and play against the Jayhawks and how she controlled the match.

“She was another one that a fantastic job on both sides of the ball. [She] won so much aerially for someone that’s 4’11”, as well as a couple of free kicks in dangerous areas by being aggressive with her running and wanting to take people on,” Fannon said. “When she got a chance, she made sure it went in.”

Iowa State will have almost a week’s rest before they get back on the road again. The Cyclones will travel to Austin, Texas on Oct. 8 to face off against the Longhorns in another Big 12 matchup, with kickoff being set for 7 p.m.