Cyclones Complete Strong Spring Season
AMES, Iowa- The Iowa State soccer team wrapped up its spring schedule on Friday with an impressive 3-1 victory over Drake in Des Moines, Iowa. Head coach Tony Minatta used the spring slate to learn more about his young team and to build for the upcoming fall season.
“We are really excited with where we ended things, and we were really excited with where we started the spring and watching the growth and progression of the team and how they came together,” Minatta said. “The chemistry of the team is fantastic. Going into the fall we want to keep the same team chemistry. There is a really good feeling on the team right now, where everyone is really confident.”
Much of spring practice is used to develop players individually so they are ready to compete at the highest level come fall. This year Iowa State will be sporting a team with many new faces, as the Cyclones lost nine seniors off a team that earned a four-seed at the 2013 Big 12 soccer tournament.
“We were looking to see how the team was going to respond without the graduating seniors,” Minatta said. “Losing nine players was definitely tough, especially the players that had the biggest impact on the program in the last few years. So I thought that we could come out and find who our leaders were going to be and where were we going to find players that could replace the seniors.”
Although Iowa State will have to deal with the loss of the nine seniors, last season showed the plethora of young talent on the roster including nine players who saw significant minutes. Combine the returning experience with the amount of young talent on the roster and Iowa State boasts an exciting team.
Minatta was looking for several players to step up and take on the leadership roles left void by the departing seniors. He is very pleased with what he found throughout the spring schedule.
“Haley Albert was our most consistent player and made the biggest impact not just from a playing standpoint, but also as a leadership standpoint,” Minatta said. “Her communication on the field and off was essential to building confidence. Losing Jessie Reyes and Meredith Skitt as outside defenders, we weren’t sure who was going to be able to fill those roles in those slots. Both Maggie Bruckman and Danielle Moore stepped in well. Although it took a little bit longer, each of them scored a goal this spring in games. From a defensive standpoint they assimilated right in and were fantastic.”
The Cyclones started off the spring schedule at the University of Minnesota where the team competed in a 7-on-7 style tournament, in which players got to experience different sets and combinations they aren’t accustomed to playing in. From there the Cyclones took on Nebraska, NDSU, Creighton, and Missouri before rounding out the schedule against Drake.
Minatta looks back to the Missouri match as what he believes to be his team’s best spring performance. Although the Cyclones dropped the game 1-0, Minatta saw his team take the strides that he knows will be key to performing well in the fall.
“I felt like in the Missouri game we put on a defensive stance against a lot of pressure from a team that only lost four seniors. They had all their goal scorers back. We had some incredible combinations to get into our attacks. At the end of the day we hit the cross bar once and we hit the post three times. An inch to the left or the right and it’s a different story. We didn’t give up the game-winning goal until the 89th minute.”
The Cyclones ended the spring slate on a strong note and one that will pay off in the fall. Iowa State will be joined by nine incoming freshman who will all compete for playing time. With the amount of young talent and experience on the Cyclone’s roster it’s clear that the future is bright for Iowa State soccer.
Check back later this spring on Cyclones.com for the release of Iowa State soccer’s 2014 regular season schedule.