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Iowa State Daily

Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones fall 2-1 to the Hawkeyes despite late push

Matteo Bender
Iowa State’s goalkeeper Avery Gillahan kicks the ball downfield during 2-1 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Aug. 24.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Despite a late offensive push on the road, the Iowa State Soccer team dropped its first match of the season after a 2-1 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday.

Strong defense early on eventually breaks

Through the first 30 minutes of the match, the Cyclones did a great job of limiting the opportunities on goal by the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s first three shots of the game included a pair that soared above the goal post and the other being a clutch save by Avery Gillahan in the middle of the box.

“She did a really good job in the goal, and there are a couple of big moments that she did exactly what we want her to do—another really solid game from her,” head coach Matt Fannon said.

The Hawkeye’s constant pressure on Iowa State’s side of the field eventually became too much for them to handle, and they allowed a shot on the left side of the net from Kenzie Roling that squeaked past Gillahan at the 33-minute mark.

Outside of the lone goal of the first half, the Cyclones worked well off of Iowa’s blazing speed, which was a key factor in keeping the game within reach.

The Hawkeyes controlled the ball on Iowa State’s side of the field for 67% of the first 45 minutes of play and headed into the second half with the Cyclones on the ropes.

Minimal opportunities to score in the first half

Of the times that the Cyclones were able to obtain some control of the ball in the first half, Iowa was quick to stop any hope of offense. Iowa State often found themselves darting passes directly to Hawkeye defenders, with multiple swarming around any time a Cyclone would touch the ball.

“They’re gonna knock the ball down your throat and run over everything,” Fannon said. “I’m not sure it’s as pretty as we’d like soccer to look, but who cares if it’s effective—and they were effective tonight.”

Iowa midfielder Millie Greer moved around the field with ease in the first half and constantly caused wild passes from Iowa State. The only player who was able to find rare slices of hope for the Cyclones was junior midfielder Lauren McConnell, who initiated a few of Iowa State’s short-lived opportunities.

Ultimately the Cyclones were held to just two shots over the first 45 minutes, one each from Mira Emma and Salomé Prat, with Emma’s being the only one on goal.

Iowa State turns up the offense but ultimately falls short

After being outshot 5-2 in the first half, the Cyclones were determined to flip things around and at the least give themselves an opportunity to get back in the match.

An early unassisted goal from Elle Otto would put the Hawkeyes up 2-0 with 43 minutes left for Iowa State to turn things around.

The Cyclones were able to spark their offense in the second half and put up seven shots on goal in hopes of seeing something go their way. They were able to get four of those shots on goal, and a quick shot from Lauren Hernandez at the 81-minute mark put Iowa State back within a goal.

“The message midway through the second half at the water break was ‘Go get a goal and it’ll change everything,’ and it did,” Fannon said.

Iowa State remained in control for the final nine minutes of the match and pestered the Hawkeye’s defense until the clock hit zero and the Cyclones shot at a comeback fell short.

Fannon was relieved to see his team find some success but was aware that their offensive push came too late, especially against a gritty team like Iowa.

“Tactically we got a couple of pieces wrong, and it led to their goals,” Fannon said. “I’m disappointed with the result but I’m proud of the way we fought.”

The Cyclones will be on the road in their next matchup at 1 p.m. Sunday against South Dakota State.

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