Cyclones refocus on remainder of conference schedule

Chris Wolff

The ISU soccer team hasn’t played a game in nearly two weeks, providing the team time to take a step back and refocus.

The time off couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cyclones (6-8, 0-4 Big 12), who are on a five-game losing streak and have started off with a disappointing 0-4 conference record.

“Everyone took a step back to just kind of relax, hang out and get their minds off soccer, because after going hard for so long … it’s nice to let our bodies recover,” said defender Haley Albert.

While the physical break was key for the Cyclones to get back to full health and full strength, perhaps the mental break was more important for the team, which faced a number of frustrating losses in recent weeks.

The Cyclones haven’t scored a goal in the past four games and have lost four of the last five games by just a single goal.

“I think mentally it helped to take a step back, because when you’re getting into a situation where you’re playing really well, playing hard, losing 1-0, playing really well, playing hard, losing 1-0, that starts to become a mental block where you feel like no matter what we do we’re not going to get past this,” said ISU head coach Tony Minatta.

Now, the Cyclones are coming off the break with fresh legs, fresh attitudes and treating their remaining schedule as a four-game season as they aim to make a late-season push to get into the Big 12 tournament.

The road will be a difficult one for the Cyclones, who face No. 10 West Virginia, No. 12 Kansas, No. 19 Texas Tech and No. 45 TCU in the coming weeks.

First up will be West Virginia on Oct. 17 in Ames. West Virginia comes in with a record of 9-2-2 for the season and has been playing especially well as of lately. The Mountaineers have not lost a match since late August.

While the records may seem like a daunting matchup for the Cyclones, the team sees it differently. After several one-goal losses, the team feels confident in its ability to play with the conference’s best teams.

“[It comes down to] getting results,” said senior goalkeeper Andrea Swanson. “That’s something that we haven’t done in Big 12 conference yet and definitely something we are capable of doing.”

Aiding the Cyclones in their attempt to upset some of the top teams in the nation will be a roster that will finally be back to full strength.

A key returning player is Adalie Schmidt, the Cyclone’s second leading goal scorer this season, who has been sidelined since Sept. 7 with an elbow injury.

With a healthy roster, the team has zeroed in on West Virginia, who they look to upset as they attempt a late-season conference tournament berth.

“They are a good team and they may overlook us, we just need to come out hard and get them on their heels,” Albert said.