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Freshman Lacasse has immediate impact Iowa soccer

BY BEN WOLFSON | SEPTEMBER 02, 2011 7:20 AM

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In the 31st minute of Iowa’s Aug. 26 6-1 victory over Western Illinois, Hawkeye freshman Cloe Lacasse took the ball on the right side of the Leathernecks’ zone, skillfully dribbled past a defender, and angled a shot past Western Illinois goalkeeper Victoria Kappel.

The ease with which Lacasse maneuvered to score summed up how her rookie season is going for the Iowa soccer team.

Lacasse has been a consistent offensive weapon so far for the Hawkeyes (3-0). She is tied for the team lead for goals (3) with sophomore Katie Nasenbenny.

“The biggest thing with [Lacasse] was being able to accept her role in this team,” senior Rachel Blakesley said. “She transitioned very well from high school to college, which I think was huge because some freshmen have difficulties with that.

“Cloe’s biggest thing is being willing to learn and listen to people … She takes it in and learns from them.”

The Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, native is one of 10 newcomers on the squad, and she has adjusted quickly to the camaraderie of the team.

“The [upperclassmen] really brought us in easy, and I felt like family as soon as we walked in,” Lacasse said. “That helped us be comfortable on the field.”

Head coach Ron Rainey believes when newcomers succeed, it’s because the team helps them.

“I think the team does a good job with [freshmen],” he said. “A freshman playing means that she’s a good player, but being on the field and having the confidence to play — that means people are in her ear saying, ‘Go ahead, take somebody on, we need you to do that, we need you to do well there.’ ”

Lacasse’s game is built on attacking the net and not stopping until she’s finished. In the Hawkeyes’ first game against DePaul, her first shot on goal was saved by the keeper and dropped. Lacasse quickly booted the rebound into the back of the net.

“My strength has always been attacking,” she said. “This team at the beginning [of the season], we were having a hard time all gelling. Now, everyone is clicking and knows each other’s flaws and positives.”

That doesn’t bode well for Iowa’s opponents this weekend — the Hawkeyes will play George Washington today and American University on Sept. 4.

Even though the Hawkeyes have never faced the two opponents, they seem not to be concerned.

“We prepare like we do for every game,” senior Emily Moran said. “We try to set our own tone for games.”

Rainey agreed, saying who his team plays before Big Ten season starts isn’t as much of a concern for him as is building chemistry in the squad.

“At the beginning of the year, the biggest thing for us is how good we can play and putting our best product out each weekend,” he said. “Our kids know that our opponent in these first few weeks is Iowa.”


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