Takeaways: Cyclones struggle to execute on chances


Then-freshman midfielder Claudia Najera blocks a TCU player while preparing to pass to her teammate from the outside in the Iowa State vs. TCU game Oct. 6, 2019.

Nick Flores

Iowa State soccer failed to come away with a win this weekend as the Cyclones fell to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State 1-0 and 3-0 respectively. Following these losses, the Cyclones moved to 3-12 overall with still no wins in the Big 12.

Cyclones find foul trouble

Iowa State racked up a total of 19 fouls throughout the 90 minutes against Oklahoma State and four players managed to receive a yellow card as well. 

The physicality in this game was at a high, as the mixture between frustration and playing physical led to an abundance of fouls and set-piece opportunities for the Cowgirls. Three Cyclone defenders — junior Shealyn Sullivan, sophomore Taylor Bee and freshman Olivia Wee — each received a yellow card, two of which came within the final 10 minutes of the match. Senior midfielder Hannah Cade also received a yellow about 15 minutes into the second half.

“It can get frustrating, especially when some of the calls just don’t seem right,” said junior forward Courtney Powell. “You kind of just have to talk yourself out of it and stay focused on the game.”

Committing so many fouls, Iowa State allowed for the Cowgirls to create chances from set pieces as well as continue to apply pressure to the Cyclones defense. Despite the Cyclones committing these fouls, Oklahoma State did not take its foot off of the gas and continued to fire shots on goal. 

The Cyclones battled throughout the entirety of the 90 minutes, but their fouling proved to be their downfall. 

Early struggles for Cyclones

The Cyclones struggled within the opening minutes of each half, allowing Oklahoma State to score within the first 10 minutes of each half. Cowgirl sophomore Grace Yochum opened the scoring in the sixth minute and scored again one minute after the start of the second half.

“Once we settled in, it was a very even back and forth game,” said coach Tony Minatta. “But when you give that initial goal up it just puts more pressure on you. You can’t give those things up and that’s one thing we haven’t done in the last few games, so we need to make sure we’re tightening up our defense in the first 15 minutes.”

Although Iowa State didn’t start off the way they wanted to, after settling in, they competed up to par with Oklahoma State and fought until the final whistle.

“Take the first ten minutes away from the game and I think we did pretty well,” Minatta said. “The one area we need to get better at is the execution of our crosses. We’re getting in and getting the ball in the right space to serve it and then our service is not dangerous, so we just need to keep pushing.”

Execution in the attacking third 

Iowa State struggled to put together many effective scoring chances. The Cyclones only recorded eight shots with none hitting the target. Six of those eight shots came in the second half.

Although the Cyclones were able to improve upon their attacking performance, those improvements were not enough to find the back of the net. 

“Our crosses need to be a lot more dangerous than they are,” Minatta said. “We had so many times [where] we had our outside backs, or [midfielders] were in space to get the cross in but the cross wasn’t working.”

The Cyclones have struggled to net many goals this season with only eight in their 15 games so far. Although their goal record may not be where they want it to be, there have been steady improvements in the attack with Minatta experimenting with various players’ positions. Minatta has had freshman Mira Emma play a game at forward as well as junior Courtney Powell in order to find new ways to implement them in the attack.

There have been flashes of how good the Cyclone attack can become, and with three games left in the regular season Iowa State will try to find its best attacking form heading into next season.

The Cyclones’ next game could prove pivotal for them as they are hoping to qualify for the Big 12 Championships, which will commence Nov. 3. The Cyclones are set to kickoff against the University of Texas at 7 p.m. Thursday.