ISU women’s soccer copes with big win against Pepperdine


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

ISU head coach Tony Minatta said leadership will be a key quality to the 2015 ISU soccer team at 2015 media day Aug. 7. 

Trey Alessio

After the ISU women’s soccer team took down No. 10 Pepperdine on Aug. 30 — its first win over a top-25 opponent since 2011, and its first ever against a top-10 team — the next challenge is moving past it. 

ISU head coach Tony Minatta has preached this year about taking the season one game at a time and winning the weekend. For this weekend’s road trip against Colorado College and University of Colorado, he will try to apply that message even more fervently. 

“Obviously, there’s a tendency for a win like that to maybe relax you a little bit because now you think you’ve arrived, but I think with our team, it just proved to them what they’re capable of doing,” Minatta said. 

The team doesn’t want to hang its hat on the Pepperdine win. The Cyclones want to build off of it, appreciate how difficult it was and comprehend the furthered success that could follow. 

If Iowa State continues to do the little things, it believes it will be in a good spot for the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. And the Cyclones aren’t getting complacent.

Along with the next couple of opponents comes an added element of motivation for numerous ISU players and coaches. Five players and Minatta will be returning to Colorado, their home state. 

“They’re going to play in their home state so they want to show that they’re doing well, and they’re going to be playing in front of family members and friends [who] wouldn’t really get to see them normally,” Minatta said. “So that’s a big thing.”

Minatta added that a lot of the ISU players tried reaching out to some of the Colorado schools and were told they weren’t good enough, giving them added motivation for the weekend. 

Junior Koree Willer, a Fort Collins, Colo., native — the same hometown as Minatta — said a lot of family will be at the upcoming games this weekend, giving her a boost of confidence. At the same time, the games will be tough, and she wants to focus on the tasks at hand.

Junior Kourtney Camy is from Denver, and she agreed there’s an added level of anticipation going back to Colorado.

“I’m extra excited to play [Colorado] because I have a lot of teammates and other players from my club who play [for Colorado],” Camy said. “It’s just going to be fun to go home and prove that people in Iowa can play soccer too.”

But the word is already starting to leak out on that front, particularly after the win against Pepperdine. Teams won’t be overlooking the Cyclones as the season progresses. 

Minatta said he didn’t think the players were shocked by beating a highly-ranked team, and they believed they could from the outset. Now, they’ve proven it to themselves. 

“That [Pepperdine win] was awesome for our confidence,” Willer said. “We’ve had games that we’ve been almost there, almost had it and haven’t quite made that step toward winning these games, so I think it was huge in that sense, to know we can do that.

“With that being said, it was one game, and we have a lot more to go.”

The Cyclones’ next 180 minutes will be against Colorado College at 5 p.m. Friday in Colorado Springs, Colo. That match will be followed by one against Colorado at 2 p.m. Sunday in Boulder, Colo.