Takeaways: Cyclones unable to handle attacking pressure of Texas squads


Iowa State and Texas Tech line up before their match Oct. 14.

Adarsh Tamma

The offenses came to play in both of the Iowa State soccer team’s matches this past weekend at the Cyclone Sports Complex against Texas Tech and TCU.

Unfortunately for the Cyclones, it was their opponents’ attack that ultimately won out, as the Cyclones dropped both matches. They first lost 2-1 to the Red Raiders on Thursday after initially leading 1-0 and were then shutout by the No. 11 Horned Frogs 3-0 on Sunday. The pair of losses dropped Iowa State to a record of 4-9 overall, and 1-4 in conference play.

Opponents’ offense dictate tempo

Perhaps the most striking factor of both matches that the Cyclones played was the pace that their opponents were performing at. Both Texas Tech and TCU’s offenses looked to run the ball down the field early and try to expose the Cyclone back line whenever they had the opportunity.

Against the Red Raiders, the Cyclones were initially able to handle this pressure and even took the lead in the 48th minute through junior Mira Emma’s shot from long range to make it 1-0.

From there, Texas Tech kept creating chances in the attacking third until they finally broke through in the 74th minute on a counter attack that was finished off by senior Kirsten Davis.

The Red Raiders completed their comeback in the 86th minute with a goal from freshman Macy Blackburn, but the Cyclones trailed their opponents by just two shots after the full 90 minutes, with a 14-12 advantage in Texas Tech’s favor. They were also able to match their opponents in the first half on shots taken, with each team attempting six.

“Once again, I think we’ve proven that we’re a good enough team to make a difference in this league,” head coach Matt Fannon said after the loss to Texas Tech.

“We just didn’t keep our foot on the gas well enough midway through the second half. Once you start allowing the pressure against players as high in quality as theirs, you’re just asking for trouble and unfortunately, it ended up going the wrong way [for us].”

The Horned Frogs seemed to take this pace to another level on Sunday, as they already led the Cyclones by a margin of 3-0 heading into halftime. TCU ranks 12th in the country in total points, as well as 16th in total goals and the Horned Frogs showed why right out of the gate, with freshman Camryn Lancaster opening the scoring in just the fifth minute of play.

Less than 15 minutes later, Grace Collins got the Horned Frogs’ second goal of the match off a corner kick and assist from Gracie Brian. TCU also currently ranks 24th in the country in average number of corner kicks taken per game, with seven. They finished the match with nine against Iowa State.

The Horned Frogs used a 3-5-2 formation against the Cyclones on Sunday to stretch out the Iowa State defense and were able to get a third goal this way in the 44th minute from senior defender Brandi Peterson.

Peterson took the ball from a teammate a few yards outside the 18-yard box and fired a shot into the top right corner that just evaded the outstretched arms of Jordan Silkowitz.

The Horned Frogs took 10 shots in the second half and were unable to get another goal, but finished the match with 26 in total compared to five from Iowa State. Fannon said on TCU’s style of play that, “Their players were bigger, stronger and faster than ours. That’s going to take time for our women to build a squad that’s at that level physically.”

“Technically, they were a bit cleaner, and I think a lot of that was because I think we panicked in the moment when we won the ball back. Tactically, we just saw the five yards in front of us instead of the bigger game.”

Silkowitz injured against Horned Frogs

Junior goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz came into the Texas Tech game having collected her 100th save as a Cyclone the week prior against the Texas Longhorns. The Fairfax, Virginia, native, who transferred to Iowa State from Ohio State in 2020, has been somewhat of a leader on the defensive side of the ball. Along with saving shots, her responsibilities have also included taking a number of indirect free kicks for the Cyclones, usually near the halfway line.

Since making her season debut against rival Iowa on Aug. 26, Silkowitz has started and played every minute of soccer Iowa State contested over the past couple of months.

That all changed against TCU, when Silkowitz had to be substituted out after sustaining an injury in the 62nd minute. While attempting to make a save from a cross in by the Horned Frogs, Silkowitz’ head collided with the foot of senior defender Kenady Adams as both players went for the ball.

In Silkowitz’ place stepped junior Rachel Vander Hart in her season debut for the Cyclones. In the remaining 28 minutes of play, Vander Hart registered three saves to keep the score at 3-0 in favor of TCU. Silkowitz had recorded nine saves before having to leave the field.

At this time, the status of Silkowitz’ condition is unknown. Fannon commented on the moment after the game by saying, “She went inside after she was hurt. Hopefully she’s ok, but I don’t know yet.”

Iowa State takes the field next at 6 p.m. Thursday in Waco, Texas, where it will face off against Baylor.