ISU women’s soccer prepares for Cy-Hawk and home opener


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Sophomore forward Koree Willer runs the ball down the field during the Cy-Hawk Series game against Iowa on Sept. 5. The Cyclones defeated the Hawkeyes 2-1.

Trey Alessio

The ISU women’s soccer team has a big weekend ahead of it.

The Cyclones square off Friday night against the Hawkeyes in the Cy-Hawk rivalry in Iowa City. Iowa State opens its home schedule Sunday against North Dakota State. 

But the Cyclones are focused on taking the labels off the games, setting their sights instead on simply winning the weekend.

The matchup with Iowa is just another game for Iowa State.

“Each game means more as you’re going toward the end of the season. And it just helps build confidence for us as we are going into the Big 12,” said ISU head coach Tony Minatta. “We want to win every game, so there’s no real added motivation. The motivation for us is to play the best we can possibly play every game. I don’t feel we’ve done that as a team yet.”

Until last year, when Iowa State beat Iowa for the first time since 2005 due to some late heroics by Alyssa Williamson, Minatta said it wasn’t really a rivalry.

“Getting a win last year [against Iowa] was the proverbial monkey off the back because I think going into those games knowing that you had lost every year kind of started weighing on the team,” Minatta said. “Now it’s done. We can focus more on the soccer piece instead of the emotional side of it.”

To win the Cyclones believe they must start strong and maintain that level of play throughout the whole 90 minutes.

“Obviously we came off a tough loss this past weekend, but we’re really just looking to get another win,” said junior captain Madi Ott. “The rivalry is what it is, but we’re just focused on playing our best game and getting better, improving on the things we need to.”

The game against North Dakota State in Ames will also provide an opportunity for Iowa State to pursue its stated goals. 

“We just want to get another win on the boards, and doing that at home is a great feeling,” Ott said. 

Although the Cyclones’ mindset is that their first home game is just another game — the same approach they’re taking into their contest with the Hawkeyes — they want to show up in front of their fans and set the mark for teams coming to the Cyclones Sports Complex.

“[The first home game] is big because you actually get to play in front of your home fans and show that we appreciate all the support they have given us, even on the road,” Minatta said. “That helps build confidence and establish a standard for when the Big 12 teams come in. We want to be really tough to play at home. We want to win every game on our home field.”

The importance of the two weekend games is pronounced because Friday is the Cy-Hawk rivalry and Sunday is Iowa State’s first home game. But the team’s focus remains on the task at hand — winning and improving every game.

“The ultimate goal is to get both wins,” Ott said. “We want to come out strong, start the game strong, finish the game strong, play a total of 90 minutes, work hard for each other, clean up the things that we’re still working on and continue to get better.”

Iowa State will take on Iowa in the Cy-Hawk series at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Iowa City and North Dakota State at 1:00 p.m. Sunday in Ames.