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Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones slip late, Jackrabbits jump ahead

Avery+Gillahan+at+the+start+of+the+CyHawk+Soccer+Game%2C+University+of+Iowa+Soccer+Complex%2C+Aug.+24%2C+2023.
Matteo Bender
Avery Gillahan at the start of the CyHawk Soccer Game, University of Iowa Soccer Complex, Aug. 24, 2023.

Iowa State soccer wrapped up its three-game road stint by falling to South Dakota State 2-1.

The Cyclones held a steady lead through the majority of the contest, but the Jackrabbits took advantage of Iowa State’s lack of offense at times. In the end, the team that created more opportunities came out on top.

A tale of two halves

The Cyclones knew going into the game that South Dakota State was not going to go down without a fight.

The Jackrabbits only allowed one goal through the first three games of the season and outscored their opponents 12-1. The reason that South Dakota State was still 3-0 on the year was due to its powerful offense.

From the jump, it appeared as though the Cyclones could keep up with the Jackrabbits. The first half was all Iowa State.

Both teams were quiet out of the gates, as only one shot was taken by each team in the first 15 minutes of play. The action did not start until over 30 minutes in.

The first goal of the game went to Iowa State, as Abigail Miller took advantage of a breakdown on the defensive side of the ball by South Dakota State. With the Jackrabbits unable to clear the ball on multiple attempts, Miller caught the ball at her feet and found the open right side of the net for a comfortable goal.

At the half, the Cyclones were up 1-0, with each team only taking three shots a piece.

When the second half rolled around, the opposite story played out. The Jackrabbits found their offense and finished the game outshooting Iowa State 14-5, with five of those shots being on goal. Even with Iowa State’s defense playing at its best, the opportunities were too much from South Dakota State.

Jackrabbits jump out ahead late

With time ticking down in the game, Iowa State still held a 1-0 lead.

Even with South Dakota State getting into more of a groove on offense, the Cyclones were finding ways to keep the game in their favor. It was not until 70 minutes into the game that South Dakota State rode its momentum into a game-tying score.

With less than 20 minutes left in the game, South Dakota State midfielder Avery Murdzek found the top left of the goal to be the first Jackrabbit to get a ball past Iowa State’s Avery Gillahan.

From that moment on, the Cyclones were scrambling to stop the bleeding. With the game knotted up at 1-1, South Dakota State was continuing to apply the pressure.

Similar to Thursday’s Cy-Hawk matchup, the large chunk of action did not stop until the final whistle. With the game still tied up and less than five minutes remaining, South Dakota State’s Maya Hansen took a shot on goal.

The shot coasted into the bottom right corner of the goal to give South Dakota State the lead with just over three minutes to play. The Cyclones made a last-ditch effort to come back and tie but did not have enough time to make anything happen.

When all was said and done, the Cyclones left the contest with their second loss of the season by a score of 2-1.

Avery Gillahan attempts to save the day

One big name throughout the start of the season has been Iowa State’s freshman goalkeeper Avery Gillahan.

Gillahan earned Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors after the first week of play due to her strong start. She only allowed one goal in two games and was a big reason that the Cyclones started undefeated.

Although she allowed two goals early on in the matchup against Iowa, she locked down late to stifle the Hawks from flying away with the game—and not only that, but Gillahan made three saves on the day.

A similar story played out against South Dakota State.

Gillahan was focused up through the first half of the contest, allowing no balls to get past her. Up until the 70th minute, she was playing a perfect game.

Gillahan made a save with less than 40 minutes left to keep the Jackrabbits scoreless. All-in-all, she finished the game with three saves, giving her six saves total in the last two games.

Although those numbers are what the team is hoping from her, she ended up allowing three goals at the end of the match.

Although the Cyclones would not have lost if even one of those balls stayed out of the net, Gillahan still did all she could to keep the Cyclones in the game—a promising sign going forward, as she is still just a freshman and has plenty of room to continue growing.

The Cyclones will be back in action and look to erase the two-game losing streak as they head back home to take on Memphis Thursday.

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