Relentless attack propels Cyclones to first home win of the season

The starting lineup for the Iowa State soccer team stands at midfield before its match against the Drake Bulldogs on Aug. 29.

Adarsh Tamma

The Cyclones earned their first home win of the season 1-0 on Sunday, which ended their three-match losing streak to improve to a record of 2-3.

Iowa State got off to a fast start, with freshman Lauren McConnell taking a shot from inside the six-yard box that went just wide of the far post. That began a barrage of shot attempts by the Cyclones throughout the 90 minutes, as they finished with 22 in total compared to the Cougars’ two.

Junior goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz started her second consecutive match, again playing the full 90 minutes and recording a save in the first shutout win of her Cyclone career.

Speaking of her team’s resolve in the match, Silkowitz said, “Every week, we try to build on the previous week, and we try to take big learning moments from each game and find a way to win. Our motto during practice is ‘everyday is gameday here’, and today, it wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win.”

“Pretty” certainly wasn’t a good description of the first half, as both team’s defenses took over the match by swarming any attaching opportunities. Iowa State edged out SIU-Edwardsville in the fouls department, drawing seven in the first 45 minutes compared to their opponents’ six.

Head coach Matt Fannon said of his team’s performance that, “Truthfully, I don’t think we played particularly well today, and I think we made hard work of it in a couple of places by overplaying sometimes.”

SIU-Edwardsville had their chances as well, as they looked to constantly get down the flanks throughout the match to swing the ball inside, but ultimately couldn’t finish.

 “When you play a team like this, that want to run the ball down your throat and knock it long, we never looked like conceding, and that’s what I’m most happy with” Fannon said of his team’s response to the Cougars’ play style. “We’ve played two games in a row where we’ve given up a total of four shots, and if we keep playing like this, we can beat a lot of teams.”

The Cyclones were finally rewarded with their offensive strategy in the 75th minute, with McConnell’s second goal of the season landing in the top right corner to give a breakthrough for her team. Junior midfielder Mira Emma provided the assist, marking her third in the last five games.

Iowa State finished the match with 11 shots on goal, keeping the Cougars defense on their toes throughout the second half with a flurry of goal attempts inside the box. Fannon called his team’s brand of play “high-energy”, and spoke of their overwhelming attack in matches.

“We want to press to win the ball back as quickly as possible,” Fannon said. “We want to make sure that we’re not giving away chances and own the game.”

The victory also seemed to be a source of relief for Fannon after the past couple of weeks, saying that, “It jumps on your shoulder when you’re losing games that you should win, and I think that can be the biggest opponent you’ve got. Today we rose above that and figured out a way to win, and once we start doing that consistently, I think we’ll be a team to reckon with.”

The Cyclones have an opportunity to post a second consecutive win on Thursday against Memphis in their third consecutive match at home. Kickoff is set at 6 p.m.