Cyclones break through with victory against UNI


Brian Mozey/Iowa State Daily

Junior defender Brianna Johnson grabs onto a Northern Iowa player and tries to kick the ball out in the 1-0 win against Northern Iowa. 

Chris Wolff

ISU coach Tony Minatta walked off the field at Cyclone Sports Complex in Ames with a smile on his face for the first time in a long time Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (6-9, 0-5 Big 12) ended their five game losing streak with a 1-0 victory against in-state rival Northern Iowa.

“It felt good,” Minatta said. “Obviously not giving up a goal is huge. We haven’t done that in awhile.”

It’s been a rough few weeks for ISU soccer. The Cyclones dropped three of their final four nonconference games and lost their first five Big 12 matchups. The tides might be changing for Iowa State, though.

The team dropped a narrow 2-1 contest against Texas last week and broke through for a win against Northern Iowa, showing that the Cyclones might be trending upward now.

“To come back and keep fighting,” Minatta said, “I think shows the resolve of the players and their commitment to wanting to turn this thing around.”

Iowa State’s defense forced a shutout, but perhaps the Cyclones best defense was an aggressive offense. Iowa State dominated possession of the ball and kept attacking all night.

The Cyclones, who are last in the Big 12 in shots, fired 20 of them compared to the Panthers’ nine. Finally, in the 74th minute, Koree Willer broke through and found the back of the net off an assist from Haley Albert.

“It’s nice to see our forwards taking it at them, and Koree to get her stride back and get that goal,” Albert said.

After four straight games without a goal, Iowa State has scored a goal in each of the last two games, signaling that the offense might be finding its groove again.

“We have to keep working [offensively],” Willer said. “I think just having the mindset of taking shots, getting the shot count up, by doing that I think … that helps a lot getting the goals.”

Willer scored her sixth goal of the season, but it was her first goal in six games. After a rough stretch personally and for her team, Willer welcomed the success.

“It’s always nice to breakthrough,” Willer said. “Once you breakthrough, everything seems a little more clear.”

The Cyclones hope this recent breakthrough will continue on throughout the remainder of the season with three games remaining on their schedule.

Currently winless in the Big 12, the Cyclones have some work to do if they want to secure a spot in the Big 12 tournament. They have a chance to put themselves in a good position to do just that with Oklahoma State up next on the schedule. 

“This game [will go] a long way towards deciding things moving forward,” Minatta said. “A win doesn’t get us in, but it puts us in that direction.”