Cyclones, Willer to benefit from more balanced offensive attack


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

Freshman forward Koree Willer cuts between two Baylor players towards the goal during Iowa State’s 1-0 loss to Baylor in the Big 12 Championship tournament game at the Swope Soccer Village on Nov. 6.

Chris Wolff

Goals were not always easy to come by for the ISU soccer team last season, but when the Cyclones did score, it frequently came off the foot of Koree Willer.

Willer’s 10 goals were by far the most on the team. In fact, she scored almost 50 percent of the team’s 21 total goals.

It quickly became a problem, however. Opponents began to zero in on Willer, suffocating her offensive attacks. If Willer was unable to break free, the game usually ended in a loss for the Cyclones.

ISU coach Tony Minatta is thrilled that has not been the case early in the 2015 season.

“It’s great to have other players stepping up, getting that confidence and [producing] for us,” Minatta said.

Willer only has one of the team’s 10 total goals through six games this season, proving the Cyclones have more than one capable offensive weapon. Even though Willer’s goal production is down, Minatta said Willer’s presence alone is a big reason for the more balanced scoring attack.

“[With] Koree scoring 10 goals last year, she’s getting a lot of attention,” Minatta said. “People know who she is, and when she steps on the field she’s the focus of a lot of defenses.”

Opposing defenses have focused so much on Willer that other Cyclones have been able to take advantage. Haley Albert currently leads the team with three goals, Klasey Medelberg and Lauren Roeling each have two, and three other Cyclones have a single goal to their name.

The result has been a 4-2 start and an offense that is clicking.

“It’s been a huge thing for us knowing that our midfielders can score, our freshmen can come in and play forward, and Koree is not going to be the only thing we have, which is nice,” said junior defender Kourtney Camy.

Though Willer’s individual production has gone down, she said she is happy to see a more balanced offense. Impact players have stepped up, making her job easier. She has less pressure to score because she knows other players are proving to be more than capable.

“I want to impact the game however I can,” Willer said. “I need to take advantage of what I am given.”

Willer doesn’t care if that means scoring goals, assisting or being a decoy so other players get openings.

Her goal-scoring production may be down for now, but Minatta sees that changing soon. As other Cyclones continue to prove their ability, opponents will be forced to focus less on Willer, which will ultimately free up Willer to score herself.

“I think people are going to start taking notice now,” Minatta said of the Cyclones’ balanced attack.

That bodes well both for Willer and the entire team. 

“Koree will start scoring,” Minatta said. “It’s going to happen. It’s happened each year that she’s been here, and the more that other people are scoring, the less [opponents] will be able to just focus on her.”