Iowa soccer faces rival Cylcones


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Even though freshman striker Cloé Lacasse has scored the same number of goals (six) as the entire Iowa State soccer team has this season, Iowa views tonight’s showdown with the Cyclones as its biggest game of the 2011 season.

“[This game] is a big rivalry for the Cy-Hawk Trophy,” sophomore Katie Nasenbenny said. “They’re a tough team, and they like to go really hard, so we’ll have to match their intensity. We have some really talented people offensively — and good defenders — and as long as we stick to how we play, we should be OK.”

Because of the speed the Cyclones possess, Iowa head coach Ron Rainey the outcome of the game could be decided in the early minutes.

“I think they are a team that will come out and be very intense,” Rainey said. “They’re going to play hard and competitive, and those are things we have to match right from the get-go. Those are the keys to the first 15 to 20 minutes of the game.”

The Cyclones are 3-2-1 on the year under fourth-year head coach Wendy Dillinger, and they have a young roster. Last season, 10 freshmen cracked Dillinger’s starting lineup. From an offensive standpoint, each of the team’s top-five point producers were first-year players.

This season, the Cyclones have recorded wins against Drake, Northern Illinois, and No. 23 Washington. They tied Wisconsin-Green Bay and lost to both No. 22 Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Georgia in the Minnesota Gold Classic last weekend.

“[The Cyclones] have had a good start to the season,” Rainey said. “The win against Washington was a great result, and they played well in Minnesota … Outside of the Big Ten, it’s probably the most noticeable game on [our] schedule.”

The Hawkeyes (5-0-0) have not faced a ranked opponent so far this season, and they sit on top of the Big Ten with a perfect record.

Rainey has never lost to Iowa State in his five full years as Iowa’s head coach, and he led the Hawkeyes to a 4-0 win last year in Ames.

In order to continue that streak, a key for Iowa is how the defenders respond to Iowa State’s speed.

So far this season, the backline has been made up of seniors Rachel Blakesley and Morgan Showalter, a Cedar Rapids native and natural midfielder who made the switch to defense this year.

Freshman Katie Brown has started as well, and other players including freshman Melanie Pickert, sophomore Alex Melin, and junior Jade Grimm have been shuffled around on the line.

“Iowa State will be able to put us under more pressure than any of the opponents we’ve faced this year,” Rainey said.

The Hawkeyes have scored first in every game in 2011 so far, and they will need to put pressure on sophomore goalkeeper Maddie Jobe, who has started five of the Cyclones’ six games.

“We have to come out hard,” Melin said. “If we play our best soccer, we’ll come out with a win.”

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