Iowa State plays ‘absolutely fantastic’ but falls to Drake in home opener

Junior midfielder Claudia Najera helps up midfielder Mira Emma following a foul outside the box. The Cyclones fell to the Bulldogs 2-1 in Sunday afternoon’s matchup.

Nick Flores

Bigger isn’t always better and the Iowa State soccer team found that out in the team’s home opener against the Drake University Bulldogs on Sunday, falling 2-1 and now stand with a record of 1-3.

The Cyclones fell early on in the fifth minute of the match but eventually were able to find their shape and put in a performance to remember. The team dominated possession and were firing from all angles as they had opportunities from all over the pitch.

From swinging in crosses on the flanks, having a go from outside the 18 yard box and even some opportunities inside the six, the Cyclones looked to have played their best game this season. 

The Cyclones eventually equalized later in the first half as freshman Morina Suter-Doerig scored her first collegiate goal of her career. From there, the Cyclones were looking to take the lead and continued to apply pressure to the Bulldogs’ defense. 

The Bulldogs went on to score another goal to retake the lead shortly after Doerig scored and the Cyclones had to dig themselves out of a hole once again. While the Cyclones put a shift in against the Bulldogs, it ultimately was not enough as they simply could not find the back of the net. 

Iowa State recorded a total of 26 shots to Drake’s two and Iowa State head coach Matt Fannon mentioned that the team played “brilliant” despite the final score.

“I thought we were absolutely fantastic. I’m not sure we’ve played better than that ever,” Fannon said. “We made two mistakes, they had two shots, we conceded two goals. It was one of the most bizarre games I’ve ever been involved with from a result perspective but performance wise I thought we were fantastic.”

The Cyclones have had issues in the past creating chances and being able to break down opposition defenses but against Drake, they looked to be at their best attacking wise.

However, the defending from the Bulldogs can not be undermined as they parked the bus immediately after scoring and it worked out in their favor. 

The Bulldogs played very aggressive defensively and made a number of saves off of the line which kept them ahead for nearly the entire game. Drake goalkeeper Kelsie Stone finished the match with a total of 12 saves as she was a key factor for the Bulldog’s holding their lead. 

In addition, the aggressiveness of the Bulldog’s could have gotten to the Cyclones as they were fouled a total of 22 times and had multiple players go down and receive treatment before heading back out on the pitch. 

Fannon recognized Drake’s aggression and labeled some of the fouls as a bit “Draconian” but also gave credit where credit was due.

“Hopefully a couple of our women are okay but honestly they had a game-plan that worked,” Fannon said. “We handled the game really well but they pumped two balls into the box which fell nicely for some of their kids and we lost the game because of that. We’ll get better from this.”

The Cyclones have a chance to prove they can get better in their next match against SIU-Edwardsville next Sunday. Kick-off will be at 1 p.m. as the team looks to put an end to their three game losing streak.