Takeaways: Cyclones nearing top level after Memphis loss


Iowa State soccer players huddle together ahead of their game vs. No.15 Memphis on Sept. 9.

Nick Flores

In the 1-0 overtime loss against the Memphis Tigers on Thursday, the Iowa State Cyclones put up a worthy fight against one of the best teams in the nation. Despite not coming away with the win, Cyclones head coach Matt Fannon was very pleased with the way his team played and expressed his excitement for the future.  

Quality chance creation

Although the Cyclones only registered two shots on goal throughout the entire game, the chances they were creating were quality in comparison to recent games. Over the last two games the Cyclones have put together 24 shots on target and looked to be a real threat when attacking.

Against Memphis however, their game-plan was slightly different as Memphis is a team who can both defend and attack well which the Cyclones needed to be prepared for. One mistake and the Tigers counter attack would already begin as they would run down the channels as soon as they won back the ball.

The Cyclones did well in containing the Tigers attack and creating their own quality chances but were unlucky to see none of them hit the back of the net. 

The first quality chance the Cyclones had came in the first half as freshman Lauren McConnell had a one-on-one opportunity which saw her put it over the bar. McConnell has been at her best recently having scored the winning goal in the last match against SIUE but, unfortunately could not find the back of the net against the Tigers.  

The next chance came late in the second half as Mira Emma was on the end of a cross in the middle of the box but could not extend far enough to tap it in.

Had that goal gone in, it may be safe to say the Cyclones could have come away with the win.

“Thats soccer, thats why we all hate it right?” Fannon said.

While the Cyclones may not have created as many chances as they did in recent games, they showed that they can compete with the best of teams and it’s only a matter of time until the team polishes the other details to become a top team. 

Defending against a top attacking side 

The Cyclones defense has not been talked about enough in recent games given the attack has stood out, but the defensive displays from the team have improved drastically in comparison to recent years. 

With goalkeeper Jordan Silkowitz organizing the defense and the experience of center-back Taylor Bee, the Cyclones have a strong defensive presence that made it hard for Memphis to score. 

Memphis had a total of 20 shots with eight on target and it took the Tigers until the final minutes of the first overtime half to find the back of the net. There were multiple clearances from the box, shots being blocked and seven saves from Silkowitz as well. 

Fannon had a lot of praise for his defense after the loss when speaking about Silkowitz’s performance in net.

“She [Silkowitz] put up a couple of saves, most of them she caught because she organizes our defenders so well,” Fannon said. “Our defenders played so well today.” 

Memphis is a side who had scored 18 goals in their previous six games before facing the Cyclones and the number 15 ranked team in the nation. The Tigers are a team who can score goals in abundance and the fact that the Cyclones took them to overtime is huge. 

It proves that the Cyclones can compete with some of the best teams in the nation and are close to becoming one of the top teams themselves. 

The Cyclones are set to play their next match at home against Creighton University as they hope to get back in the winning column after the loss to the Tigers. That game will be available to stream on ESPN+ via Big 12 Now with kick-off set for 6 p.m. Thursday.