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Iowa State soccer travels to Baylor in hopes for bounce-back game

Olivia+Edwards+waiting+for+a+free+kick+during+the+Iowa+State+vs.+BYU+match%2C+Cyclone+Sports+Complex%2C+Oct.+2nd%2C+2023.
Matteo Bender
Olivia Edwards waiting for a free kick during the Iowa State vs. BYU match, Cyclone Sports Complex, Oct. 2nd, 2023.

The Cyclone soccer team (4-8-1) looks to bounce back from their biggest loss of the season Monday night against BYU as they take on the Baylor Bears (6-5-2) on Thursday. 

The Iowa State offense is coming off its fourth game of the season where it failed to put the ball in the back of the net. Baylor comes into the match winning its last match 2-0 to Kansas State.

“If you allow one drawback to affect the next game, it’s the biggest problem,” Iowa State head coach Matt Fannon said. “There is a saying in soccer, ‘the best forwards have the shortest memory.’” 

Fannon believes that if his team is too worried about the one they missed beforehand, they will not score on their next chance. 

Iowa State and Baylor soccer have similar styles of play. Both lost to No. 6 BYU by a combined 11-0 and neither are major offensive threats.

“I think that as a team, we’ve got a group of people that are full of leaders that are ready to step into that [short memory mentality] and move on,” Fannon said. “Time will tell, but Thursday will be the moment that we’ll find out if we do have that group.” 

Fannon believes as long as the Cyclones focus on what is ahead of them and let go of the past, they will be mentally and physically ready for whatever else gets in their way. 

Thursday’s bounce-back matchup against Baylor will tell where the team is at.

The Bears are led by senior midfielder Ashley Merrill who leads the team in goals (seven), points (14) and second-in shots (23). Sophomore Tyler Isgrig is right behind her with four goals on the season, 14 points and has more shots (35). As a team, the Bears are being out-shot by their opponents 17.2 to 12.7 and are averaging 1.54 goals per game compared to their opponents 1.15.

Behind the net for Baylor, grad student Makinzie Short and sophomore Ashlee Zirkel have evenly split time, each tallying 585 minutes of action. Short has started six games allowing seven goals and has 32 saves. Zirkel has started eight games allowing eight goals and has 34 saves. 

The Cyclones have not had much luck putting goals on the scoreboard but hope to hand one of the two Bear goalies another loss to their name on Thursday.

The Cyclones are led by Mira Emma with four goals, three assists and 11 points on the season. Salomé Prat is starting to catch up with three goals and six points. 

Behind the net, Avery Gillahan has allowed 24 goals and has 37 saves. Haley Woodward saw her first minutes in the Cyclones’ last game where she allowed four goals and recorded eight saves in her debut. The Cyclones back-line will look to help prevent that from happening again when they travel to Waco, Texas, Thursday.

Thursday’s game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. following a change in game time and will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

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