Hawkeye soccer's Catrell surges at start of her junior season
Ashley Catrell scored 5 goals during her first 24 months in Iowa City.
It’s taken her two weeks to double that.
The junior forward had limited playing time during her freshman and sophomore seasons, recording just 12 points in 18 games coming off of the bench. But now, the Overland Park, Kan., native has awakened from a two-year slumber to burst onto the Big Ten soccer scene with 10 points on 5 goals through the first four games of 2012. She is also tied for the conference lead in scores with teammate sophomore forward Cloe Lacasse.
Catrell believes that the offensive surge is the result of getting the time on the field she had been waiting for since arriving at Iowa in 2010.
“I’ve been getting more minutes now, which has led to more opportunities,” she said. “My teammates have also been very supportive, which has helped a lot.”
Iowa head coach Ron Rainey isn’t surprised Catrell has broken out. He said that when the upperclassmen arrived at fall camp, he could tell she was a different player than before.
“She came into 2012 at a nice fitness level, and she earned a spot out on the field,” Rainey said. “And she’s handled the increased playing time really well.”
Catrell, known as one of the best finishers on the team, has 10 shots on goal this season after entering 2012 with 18 in her career. The upperclassmen said that all of the practice she put in leading up to this season, especially this past summer on, has rewarded her with the strong beginning.
“This summer I trained with a whole bunch of my club teammates [in Kansas],” Catrell said. “I’ve also been getting a lot of reps shooting and finishing on goal.”
Lacasse has reaped the benefits of Catrell’s breakout start as well. Both of the sophomore’s assists have come courtesy of the junior.
“Ashley’s always been a really good finisher, everyone knows that,” Lacasse said. “Other teams are scouting her now, and she’s been getting double [coverage], but she’s doing really well.”
Rainey, though excited at Catrell’s start, was adamant that the competition level Iowa will face is due to rise drastically over the coming weeks, especially once Big Ten play arrives. He said that tweaks will have to be made to the team’s strategy and that Catrell will likely have to adapt to a less offensive style of play.
“We play opponents coming up where there will be a little more work defensively,” Rainey said. “We’ll be able to make adjustments and give feedback to her, as opposed to keeping the defensive role she’s had to play in the first few games.”
He also noted that the number of minutes each player will get this season is not set in stone but said the junior was ready for whatever role she happens to fall into as the season progresses.
“Over the next couple of weeks, we want to keep setting our rotation and figure out who we want to play in close games,” Rainey said. “And she’s done very well dealing with that.”
No matter how the season ends up shaking out, Catrell’s magical start has to be one of the feel-good stories of the young season for the Hawkeyes. It’s a story that keeps getting better with each game and one Catrell has been waiting half of her college career to write.
“I’ve been able to get a lot of shots off in the games so far and I’ve been finishing really well lately,” she said. “It’s different starting now.”
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