Takeaways: Balanced gameplan carries Cyclones to home victory

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

Adarsh Tamma

Iowa State soccer continued its home stand on Sunday by hosting the Cougars of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) at the Cyclone Sports Complex. The Cyclones were able to get the better of their opponents in 90 minutes, taking the match and their first home victory by a score of 1-0.

In the 76th minute, freshman forward Lauren McConnell fired a shot into the top right corner which just evaded the fingertips of Cougars goalkeeper Bella Henderson to give Iowa State a late lead. They hung on down the stretch to improve their overall record 2-3 and end a three-match losing streak.

For the Cyclones, the win was a team-concentrated effort that saw both the offense and defense rise to the occasion.

Defensive dominates first half

Just like in last week’s matchup against Drake, the Cyclones and Cougars got off to a fast start, with SIUE forward Maria Haro firing a shot in the second minute that Iowa State goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz was able to save. That would be the only shot on goal by the Cougars for the rest of the match, as the Cyclone defense allowed just two shots for the match.

At times, this strategy also showed its downsides, as Iowa State registered seven fouls in the first 45 minutes to six from SIUE. The Cyclones finished the match with 11 fouls in total along with a yellow card given out to freshman defender Tyra Shand late in the match.

This was the second consecutive game where Iowa State recorded more than 10 fouls, having finished with 14 fouls in last weekend’s loss to Drake, who drew 22.

The Cougars’ defense also had its moments against the Cyclones, including a sequence in the second half that nearly let in a goal. In the 65th minute, McConnell’s shot towards the middle of net was blocked by Henderson, only for the ball to land at the feet of junior midfielder Mira Emma.

Emma’s shot was headed off the line by a Cougar defender to keep score even at 0-0.

Mira Emma guides offense to breakthrough goal

As the match wore on, it seemed to be only a matter of time before the Cyclones would capitalize on and offensive possession. Iowa State finished the game with 22 shots, 11 of which were on-goal.

The Cyclones were led on the attack by junior Mira Emma, who recorded a season-high five shots against the Cougars in 90 minutes. Emma also had the pass to McConnell’s goal, registering the sixth assist of her Cyclone career.

“She’s an excellent soccer player and brilliant leader,” Iowa State head coach Matt Fannon said about Emma. “She pushes everyone else to get better, and I think that our team gets better because of that.”

Emma’s mazy runs through the SIUE defense created chances time after time for her teammates to get a shot on-goal. Along with McConnell, freshman Morina Suter-Doerig and junior Claudia Najera all finished with three shots in the match, with a majority of the chances being set up by Emma’s speedy play around the 18-yard box.

Iowa State plays their next match against an undefeated Memphis squad at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Cyclone Soccer Complex.