When a player has a breakout game like the one senior midfielder Emily Goldstein had against the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday, it deserves a little recognition. The Orange County, Calif. native scored three goals in a must-win game on the road against the Sooners to give the Cyclones a decisive 4-1 victory.
Goldstein became just the eighth Cyclone to record a hat trick since Kaeli Flaska accomplished the feat against Loyola-Chicago on Sept. 11, 2011, and her performance earned her College Sports Madness Big 12 Player of the Week honors.
Goldstein’s feat is quite incredible, but if you dig a little deeper into Cyclone soccer history you begin to realize just how important her performance really was. The Cyclones have not made the Big 12 Tournament since 2007, and every year the top-eight teams advance to the tournament and oftentimes the Cyclones are just one or two games away from making the tournament in a highly competitive league.
This year the Cyclones were pushing to break that cycle and with a large group of seniors on the team the push was even greater.
“People have always seen us as the bottom of the Big 12 and we really aren’t,” Goldstein said. “All of our games are really close and most of the teams that play us can see how good we really are, but it’s just the outsiders that don’t realize how good this team actually is.”
It was against the Sooners that Goldstein took matters into her own hands. With the Cyclones up 1-0 in Norman, Okla., Goldstein caught a breakaway and found the back of the net for what would be the game-winning goal. She wasn’t done there though; she tacked on two more goals for good measure to squash any possibility of a Sooner comeback.
With the season drawing to an end, this could be the game that sends the Cyclones to the Big 12 Tournament, and if it is, it’s a game and individual performance this Cyclone team will never forget.
“If this is the game that gets us in, I’m just going to remember the feeling after,” Goldstein said. “I was just so happy that we were able to win like that. We’ve always been the team that’s on the back end of games like those so it’s really exciting and awesome to be the team on the other side.”
There have been 13 hat tricks in Cyclone soccer history, but this particular hat trick may have been the most meaningful.