Iowa soccer looks for scoring aside from Lacasse

BY TOM CLOS | SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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When sophomore forward Cloe Lacasse exited near halftime of Sunday’s game against Illinois with an ankle injury, the cold water of reality was thrown into the face of the Iowa women’s soccer team.
The reality was that the team might depend on its leading scorer a little too much.

The sans-Lacasse Hawkeyes weren’t able to tie the game without their leader, mustering 6 shots in the second half of their 2-1 defeat. The game provided a look into how the team will respond when Lacasse is shut down by an opposing defense; something that most likely will occur at some point as Iowa faces the top teams in the conference.

Iowa head coach Ron Rainey was encouraged by how his team responded without its offensive leader against the Illini but felt that there were some noticeable areas of deficiency. He said his side’s ability to create chances in situations when they can’t rely on Lacasse were vital and need to happen more frequently than they did on Sunday.

“In the second half, we didn’t possess the ball as well as possible,” he said. “We definitely want to keep a little more possession through the middle third so we can keep creating chances.”

Rainey was adamant, however, that improvements are necessary, but he didn’t think his offense was lagging. He said he was encouraged by some of the things his attackers did in the closing minutes at Illinois.

“We are playing now where the finishing of plays has to be real precise, and we need to be better there,” Rainey said. “But there isn’t a lack of depth on this team, and we did create some good scoring chances in that second half.”

Sophomore midfielder Katie Nasenbenny had 1 shot on goal against Illinois and has 3 goals on the season. She felt that the void left by Lacasse was obvious too many times against the Illini and stated her team left much to be desired offensively moving forward.

“Everyone’s got to pick up herself a little bit,” Nasenbenny said. “We responded to Cloe’s injury well, but we can definitely respond better.”

Nasenbenny said that having a player of Lacasee’s caliber wasn’t an excuse for the rest of the roster to relax.

“Nobody can replace exactly what Cloe does, but she can’t come in and replace exactly what someone else does,” Nasenbenny said. “We count on Cloe a lot, but we depend on every other player just as much.”

Senior midfielder Dana Dalrymple was conscious that Lacasse’s gaudy numbers would prompt the Hawkeyes’ future opponents to game plan around her. She stressed the importance of keeping the offense functional during instances when Lacasse won’t be able to carry the offensive load.

“Cloe is definitely on a lot of scouts’ lists. She’s done very good things for us,” Dalrymple said. “So, we all have to step it up — everyone on the field — and try to create chances for ourselves.”

Nasenbenny was happy to hear Lacasse was day-to-day and that the super sophomore was expected to play against Indiana on Friday. She said that her team could adjust to life without Lacasse but wants no part of it.

“We did OK after her injury, but of course, we can do better,” Nasenbenny said. “Hopefully that [injury] never happens again.”

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