Iowa soccer's Lacasse utilizing international experience

BY TOM CLOS | AUGUST 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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Cloe Lacasse has conquered Iowa City, becoming the face of the women’s soccer program in just one season. She’s one of the Big Ten’s best players and is primed to make her mark on the NCAA in 2012.
Her global presence, however, will have to wait.

The Hawkeye sophomore was one of 24 Canadians selected to participate in her country’s U-20 team camp this past July in Montréal. Lacasse performed valiantly throughout the six-day program but was unable to make the final roster.

But the Sudbury, Ontario, native was not discouraged with the result and instead decided that there was a lot to take from the time she spent north of the border.

“It was really good for me because I was able to train with the best players in the country,” she said. “It makes you want to move up your tempo and just get better.”

Iowa head coach Ron Rainey believes that the experience was a success the minute she was selected last June. He said there are noticeable improvements the underclassman has made on the field in the young season.

“Cloe has added some things to her game,” Rainey said. “She’s now able to play back-to-goal better and she has read the ball on where she needs to be in the box.”

Rainey felt that though her rookie campaign was good, Lacasse’s game was far from complete. This is not the case anymore — she is on pace to shatter her assists mark of 6 from 2011 with 3 through four games this year.

“We told her that goals and assists are the same thing,” Rainey said. “She already might have as many [assists] as she did last year, which is something that’s really been nice to see.”

Iowa assistant coach Julie Hanley, who works with several of the team’s players individually, including Lacasse, said it was nice to see her return from Canada as the horse the team rode last year en route to its best record in school history.

“Cloe has had a great start to the season and is someone who we’ll continue to rely on,” Hanley wrote in a text message on Monday. “She is just a natural goal scorer.”

For some, with failure comes disappointment, but Rainey didn’t think of the cut as unsuccessful. Instead, he said the camp has helped her grow immensely as a player and will serve her game in the future.

“She’s been somebody that’s a lot more comfortable on the field,” Rainey said. “Cloe knows that sometimes she needs to keep possessions or lay it off, while other times she knows to take people on and look to score.”

Just because Lacasse didn’t make the cut in 2012 doesn’t mean she is ready to run back and try again in 2013. The 19-year old said it’s best to take some time and weigh her options before committing to anything next summer.

The Hawkeyes leading goal scorer may not be certain what the future holds, but the sophomore striker does know that if she returns to Canada, she needs to keep up a certain level of her game.

“I’ve learned that I need to play quicker,” Lacasse said. “If you aren’t quick, you’re going to get hit pretty bad.”

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