True freshman goalie adjusting to Iowa State soccer

ISU soccer beats South Dakota State for first win of season on Sunday at the cyclone sports complex.

Connor Ferguson

The first few days, or even weeks, of classes can be a difficult transition to get accustomed to when a freshman goes to college.

For Iowa State soccer goalie Dayja Schwichtenberg, it has appeared to be easy.

“The whole team is really supportive,” Schwichtenberg said. “When I go out there even being a freshman, I know that I have all of my team to help me to improve and help us win the game.”

In her first game as a Cyclone, the true freshman led the team to a shutout victory over the Creighton Bluejays, tallying two saves.

“It’s expected [for her to do well],” said redshirt junior midfielder Brooke Tasker after the Creighton game. “Dayja came in and we all knew [the type of player] she is. [Lindsey] Hendon is out right now, she stepped up. We’re very proud of her.”

Since that game, the results on the scoreboard haven’t been pretty.

The Cyclones have lost three games in a row and were outscored 9-1 over that stretch, dropping their record to 1-3 in their first four games.

“I would say it would definitely boost team morale,” Schwichtenberg said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to play our hardest no matter what the score was. If we had been winning the whole time, we would have been playing just as hard this weekend as we did.”

Schwichtenberg still had her fair share of saves, totaling an average of 4.67 saves per game in the three-game stretch.

To get to the starting goalie spot, Schwichtenberg had to beat out sophomore Antonia Reyes.

Schwichtenberg has been playing in relief of senior Lindsey Hendon, who tore her ACL in February.

Hendon recorded a school-record 10 shutouts while landing on the academic All-Big 12 second team in 2016.

“I don’t think I would be starting without [Hendon’s help],” Schwichtenberg said. “She’s just like a constant support telling me what I could’ve done better, what I did well.”

Even after a 6-1 loss to Minnesota, Hendon was there for encouragement.

“Especially on times when I got scored on, she was telling me, ‘Hey you’ve got to brush it off, get to the next game, and focus on what you can get better on.’ She’s really great,” Schwichtenberg said.

Hendon has been injured for the entirety of the season, but has been making progress.

Coach Tony Minatta said that the senior will be having a checkup on Friday to see if she is ready to go.

Minatta referenced Sept. 15 as an estimated emergency date for Hendon to return, and also said that she should be ready for Big 12 play, which starts the following week against Texas.

If Hendon returned on Sept. 15, she would be available to face No. 8 Florida at home on Sept. 17.

Until then, it’s Schwichtenberg’s spot to lose.

Schwichtenberg said that communication between her and the back line is the end-all be-all.

“They tell me when I’m doing something wrong,” Schwichtenberg said. “They’re not afraid to tell me what they need from me. That’s really important when you’re communicating with your back line in that you’re honest with each other and not holding anything back.”

The Cyclones will take on South Dakota State on the road this weekend before returning home to face Missouri-Kansas City on Sunday at 1 p.m.