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Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones give up two late penalty kicks, draw UCSB 2-2

Mira+Emma+playing+physical+during+the+Iowa+State+vs.+UC+Santa+Barbara+match%2C+Cyclone+Sports+Complex%2C+Sept.+3%2C+2023
Matteo Bender
Mira Emma playing physical during the Iowa State vs. UC Santa Barbara match, Cyclone Sports Complex, Sept. 3, 2023

AMES— Despite leading early in the second half, the Iowa State soccer team allowed UC Santa Barbra to sneak back in with two penalty kicks and dropped its first draw of the season

The Cyclones showed a newfound sense of control through the first two-thirds of the match, but ultimately cost themselves a win by allowing a pair of penalty kicks in the second half. This is Iowa State’s first draw with two goals since 2021 against Oklahoma.

While the team scored a pair of goals for the first time since the season opener against Arizona, head coach Matt Fannon believes there is still a lot his team has to do moving forward to turn draws into wins.

Cyclones find success with first-half control

So far this season, the Cyclones have struggled out of the gate and often fallen behind early because of it. They started the match by controlling the ball for 48% of the first half and scooping up any loose passes from the Gauchos.

Senior Maddie Brant talked about her team’s success early on and how they learned from prior matches to be the aggressors in the first half.

“We kept the ball under control, we were clean technically and we had some good moments where we were able to apply the tactics we learned from our press,” Brant said.

Although they were outshot 6-4 in the first half, the Cyclones chose carefully when to test UCSB goalkeeper Sabrina Hinz. Their trusty decision-making culminated in a late goal from Salomé Prat who struck the ball from the middle of the Gauchos side of the field past the right side of Hinz to get the Cyclones on the board at the 35-minute mark.

Prat’s powerful second goal of the season was assisted by Jocelyn Bice, her first of the year. Both Prat and Bice entered off the bench for the Cyclones over halfway through the first half and made short work of making their presence felt.

“You gotta be able to trust the squad,” coach Fannon said. “I think that there’s certainly been some moments where they’ve come in where they give a chance to win the game and we got ourselves in that spot. Our squad is ready to play when we need them.”

Penalty kicks tie the game in the second half

The Cyclones wasted no time staying the aggressor in the second half, with senior Mira Emma connecting on her second shot of the game to put her team up by two. Her goal was assisted by Nicolasa Jacobs, the midfielder first off the bench this season.

That goal would prove costly as the Gauchos were gifted a pair of penalty kicks in the second half to tie the game up. UCSB’s Lauren Helwig was able to fake out Avery Gillahan both times on the penalty kicks, the first time to the left and the other to the right.

The second penalty kick came off of a foul call on Bice at the 73-minute mark and would end up being the deciding factor in the match.

While Fannon did not agree with the call he also believes that if the defense puts themselves in that situation, teams are gonna execute on their mistakes.

“It’s hard to argue in that moment, I think one of our assistants watched back and said it definitely wasn’t,” coach Fannon said. “But you know what, that happened cause we got on the back foot and defended poorly. If we’re gonna do that we’re gonna give goals away.”

Cyclones unsatisfied with the draw, determined to learn from it

The Cyclones were able to hold off UCSB from taking the lead late in the second half and allowed just one shot during the final 17 minutes.

While Iowa State avoided its fourth straight loss of the season, coach Fannon wasn’t afraid to address the tiredness they showed in the second half.

“The quality just disappeared,” Fannon said. “I think we made a mistake obviously giving them the opportunity to get a penalty kick, in that moment as they’ve got momentum we took a step backward. When we do that we don’t deserve to win games.”

Fannon also talked about how his team played a bit passive towards the end of the match, which ultimately halted them from regaining the lead. In order to correct those mistakes, coach Fannon believes the team needs consistency for all 90 minutes.

“For an hour we felt good about the game, but other than that you don’t get to play for an hour,” coach Fannon said. “I think we need to learn that taking our foot off the gas in those moments just isn’t going to work.”

The Cyclones’ veteran defender backed up her coach’s final thoughts on the match and believes that she and her teammates can’t sit back in and play soft in moments late in games.

“We just gotta learn to be tougher in moments that don’t go our way,” Brant said. “We can’t lose our focus, we can’t lose our technical abilities.”

Iowa State will be on the road for its next matchup on Thursday at 2 p.m. against Portland State.

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