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Missed opportunities become costly, Iowa State soccer falls to No. 16 Memphis

Alex+Campana+waiting+for+a+goal+kick+during+the+Iowa+State+vs.+Memphis+match%2C+Cyclone+Sports+Complex%2C+Aug.+31%2C+2023.
Matteo Bender
Alex Campana waiting for a goal kick during the Iowa State vs. Memphis match, Cyclone Sports Complex, Aug. 31, 2023.

AMES — Outside of strong goalkeeping, the Iowa State soccer team couldn’t find success in its 4-1 loss against No. 16 Memphis and dropped to 2-3 on the season. 

Iowa State was able to control the ball well to open up the match but struggled to keep its early momentum rolling through the first half.

Whether they were playing keep-away or striking shots on goal, the Tigers dominated the time of possession for the first half. This is a common problem that the Cyclones have run into in their losses this season and is something head coach Matt Fannon expected against a great team like Memphis.

“I’m not in a place where I feel disappointed about the performance in the first half,” Fannon said. “Memphis is better at what they do than we are at what we do. We kind of knew that coming in. I think we are going to be just fine coming out of that.”

After two unsuccessful shots from Memphis in the first 16 minutes of the match, they finally got one past Iowa State goalkeeper Avery Gillahan to take an early lead.  Less than 10 minutes later, the Tigers struck another ball past the redshirt freshman and went into halftime with a commanding pair of goals. 

Saorla Miller scored both goals for the Tigers in the first half, which brought her to four on the season. 

Gillahan was tested immensely in the first half between the posts with the Tigers sending six of their 10 shots on goal. She held her own against the offensively proven Tigers and compiled four saves to give the Cyclones a chance at a comeback in the second half. 

Gillahan overall racked up eight saves and has no doubt made a huge impact on the team through Iowa State’s five games. She now sits with 17 saves and has played all 450 possible minutes as the Cyclone’s netkeeper this season.

Coach Fannon believes Gillahan has put up a solid season so far and expects her to keep making those big-time saves as the team gets closer to Big 12 play. 

“Gillahan will make those saves all the time. Those are saves that we expect her to make, and they’re in moments that she expects to take care of as well,” Fannon said. “She’s done well and I’m really happy she’s our goalkeeper, I think she’ll do well there. We just don’t want the stats to deceive the game itself.” 

Iowa State has struggled to create opportunities throughout its matches, and that didn’t stop in this matchup. When they were able to gain some control, the Cyclones were still held to just three shots in the first half with two on goal. 

Iowa State was also outplayed in corner opportunities over the first 45 minutes and had just one free kick to Memphis’s nine. 

Iowa State was unable to stop the offensive poise from Memphis in the second half and gave up another goal, this time to Mya Jones, in the 66-minute mark of the match. Memphis continued to test Gillahan throughout the second half and squeaked past another goal at the 87-minute mark by Yui Suetsugu. 

For a majority of the second half, the Cyclone’s offensive struggles were carried over as they put up only five shots with three on goal. They finally got one past Memphis’s goalkeeper Kaylie Bierman, as senior Kristin Boos scored her first career goal with the Cyclones. 

Fannon believes that his team has gotten the short end of the stick in terms of the little things it takes to succeed and is optimistic that his girls will turn things around within the next few matches.

“I think everyone is going to be chomping at the bit for Sunday at this point,” Fannon said. “That’s the way soccer sometimes goes and you wanna make sure it happens in the opposite direction by taking care of those bits, and I think everyone’s gonna be ready to do that on Sunday.”

After starting the season 2-0, Iowa State has now lost its last three games and has been outscored 8-3 in those losses. 

The Cyclones will attempt to snap their three-game skid in their next affair at 1 p.m. Sunday against UC Santa Barbara.

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