Lacasse's injury stalls Iowa soccer's attack

BY TOM CLOS | OCTOBER 10, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa soccer team’s match on Friday will truly be a red-letter day.

The affair with Ohio State will mark the official start of the second-half of conference play and kick off the Hawkeyes’ longest homestand of the season. It will also be an opportunity for the squad to extend the longest Big Ten unbeaten streak in program history, which is currently at five.

But this weekend will also be the one-month anniversary of leading-goal scorer Cloe Lacasse’s last point.

The sophomore forward hasn’t registered a point in Iowa’s last six contests, and Lacasse hasn’t appeared on the score-sheet since a 3-point burst in the team’s 3-0 victory at St. Louis on Sept 12.
Usually a box score regular, her sudden dip in production has correlated with what the team has referred to as “a minor ankle injury” she suffered on Sept. 16 in Iowa’s lone defeat, a 2-1 decision at Illinois.

“[The ankle] is getting better, but every day is different,” Lacasse said. “I’m just continuing to deal with it day by day.”

The Hawkeyes have played to three-consecutive 0-0 draws, at Michigan, Michigan State, and Minnesota, through which Lacasse had only three shots. The offense as a whole is averaging just 1 goal per game in Big Ten play after scoring 3.3 goals per game in the nonconference season.

Iowa assistant coach Nick Flohre doesn’t think the team’s attackers were doing anything wrong; he noted that conference opponents were as good as they get on defense.

“There’s nothing wrong with [the offense]; we’ve just been playing good defenses more or less,” Flohre said. “And Cloe is keyed on by other teams; she gets their attention.”

The offensive scarcity is a repeat of sorts for Lacasse, who went scoreless for a six-game stretch from Sept. 28 through Oct. 18 in 2011. It wasn’t as pronounced because the Hawkeyes received much more secondary offensive support, finishing last season with six players who posted double-figures in points. This season, Iowa has just one pair of players with double-digit points in Lacasse and junior forward Ashley Catrell.

“It’s going to be really important for her to get back and be all the way recovered,” Catrell said.

“She’s such a big part of our offense and we look for her a lot when we generate opportunities.”

Catrell noted that the ailment has noticeably affected Lacasse’s game and described the ways the squad has attempted to incorporate the underclassman into the game plan.

“[The injury] has definitely affected her offensively,” Catrell said. “We’ve been looking to play more toward her feet rather than sending her longs because her ankle is still bothering her.”

Flohre was confident that Lacasse would return to her high level in the near-future, saying the injury was on the verge of becoming old news.

“The injury is lingering a little bit, but she’s not far off,” Flohre said. “She’s close to 100 percent.”
Lacasse said she had no idea whether she would return to full-strength before the 2012 season comes to a close and said she will continue to fight the setback and do whatever it takes to end the scoring drought.

“When you have an injury, you’re not going to be the same player you are,” Lacasse said. “That being said, you’ve got to play with what you have.”

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