Cyclones face tough task in undefeated Memphis squad


Iowa State freshman Anna Lindgren plays against the Drake Bulldogs on August 29. 

Adarsh Tamma

The Iowa State soccer team faces their toughest task yet of the season on Thursday with a home match against the University of Memphis.

The Cyclones are facing their first ranked team of the season, as the Tigers come into this matchup at No. 15 in the latest United Women’s Soccer Poll.

The Cyclones last took to the pitch this past Sunday, when they earned their first home victory of the season against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). The match looked to be heading to overtime until the 76th minute, when Iowa State was able to breakthrough thanks to a goal from Freshman Lauren McConnell.

The Barrie, Ontario, native’s goal was her second of the season, having opened the Cyclones’ 2021 campaign against University of California, Santa Barbara.

Senior goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz earned her first shutout of the season against the Cougars, recording just one save thanks to a strong performance from Iowa State’s back four.

“I think we’re just going to take what we did today and learn from it,” Silkowitz said postgame Sunday. “We’ll watch film on Memphis and attack it just like we did today.”

Memphis has gotten their season off to a strong start, as they currently boast an undefeated record of 5-0-1. The Tigers have netted 18 goals so far this season, including an 8-0 shutout of University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on Aug. 26.

In their most recent match, Senior forward for the Tigers Tonya Boychuk scored twice in an eventual 3-1 win against Alabama, recording her third and fourth goals of the season respectively.

Head Coach Matt Fannon commented on the Tigers’ play this season, saying that the Tigers are a team the Cyclones are trying to emulate.

“Watching Memphis, I think they in a lot of ways are very similar to what we are trying to become,” Fannon said.  “They’re good defensively and going forward and have good set pieces.”

The Tigers’ defense has also been a key to their team’s success, as Memphis held the Crimson Tide from the University of Alabama to just three shots on goal. The Tigers have held their opponents to 33 shots in total over their last six games and have conceded twice. Iowa State’s defense has also been key to their play in the last couple of matches, as the Cyclones allowed only two shots in both their loss to Drake and win against SIUE.

Despite the prospect of their opponent, Fannon seemed confident of his team’s play-style and eager to take on the challenge.

“I think we’re really excited because we know we have what it takes to compete with these [types of] teams, we just know we need to put everything together to be able to do it,” Fannon said.  “In the big moments that really matter, putting away the chance that comes is so important to get a result in the game.”

Iowa State and Memphis have met once before, when the then No. 11 Tigers recorded a 3-0 win over the Cyclones at home for their sixth consecutive shutout that season. The two teams face off at 6p.m. Thursday at the Cyclone Sports Complex, with the match also being streamed live on ESPN+.