Strong Summer Propels Lacasse

Aug. 16, 2012

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — When University of Iowa sophomore Cloe Lacasse was in the midst of playing with the Toronto Lady Lynx over summer, she was approached by Canada’s women’s U20 coach Andrew Olivieri. Nearly one week later, she had an email with an invitation to the team’s summer camp.

The invitation meant Lacasse was one of Canada’s top-24 players, and would spend six days training in a very competitive camp — an experience that would prove to be invaluable.

“Playing with some of the most talented players in Canada is alone enough to bring up your skill level,” Lacasse said. “When you add all the other things up, there was a ton of helpful things that really helped my game.”

Lacasse had one of the most successful offensive seasons in program history last year as a freshman. She scored 12 goals, had six assists and totaled 30 points. Her point and goal totals were each second best in Hawkeye history.

From July 3-9, Lacasse took that talent to Montreal, Quebec, for Canada’s summer camp, where she would spend the next week scrimmaging the top players of the country. Although the forward didn’t make the final roster, Lacasse took many positives away from the experience.

One of Lacasse’s personal highlights came in the final scrimmage of the camp as she found herself in a 1-on-1 situation in the attacking third of the pitch. She scored a goal, just as she has many times in her youthful Hawkeye career.

Iowa head coach Ron Rainey expects many parts of the experience to benefit Lacasse this season, particularly the mental aspect of it.

“It’s a stressful situation being in a camp with only a certain number of spots on the roster,” said Rainey, Iowa’s all-time wins leader. “That’s a good experience to go through. When the stress level is high in games, you want somebody that is familiar with that and can be as relaxed as possible.”

Olivieri attributed the reason Lacasse didn’t make the final roster to lack of experience. Heading into her second season with the Hawkeyes, Lacasse is hoping to get that experience in Iowa City and get invited back to more of the Canadian National Team camps.

“They told me it was because of lack of experience, and I really feel that getting back to this team will give me that experience they’re looking for,” said Lacasse, who was named on the Big Ten Players to Watch List this preseason. “It’s my goal to take that experience and make it back with the National Team.”

The Iowa women’s soccer team had a few friendly rivalries the past two weeks, as the team watched as much Olympic soccer matches together as possible. On Aug. 6, the team got together for the USA-Canada match, which ended in a 4-3 American victory after a controversial call led to an American goal.

“Cloe and Mackenzie (Guindon) were flying their Canadian colors for that match, and I think we all kind of felt bad for them after the match because of that call,” said Rainey with a laugh. “It was awkward for a minute or two, but after I think everyone was ready to get some food and get a good practice in.”

As the Hawkeyes are just days away from their season opener against Eastern Illinois on Friday, Lacasse has shifted her full attention to Iowa’s upcoming season.

“I’ve had plenty of time back in Iowa City to work hard and focus on doing whatever it takes to help the team,” said Lacasse, who was named Iowa’s offensive MVP last season. “Every practice you have to make sure you are playing the best and hardest you can, otherwise it’s not going to be so pretty once you get in that game. I’ve definitely been trying to do that each practice and each day.”

After a strong summer playing for the Toronto Lady Lynx, Sudbury Canadians and participating in Canada’s U20 summer camp, Lacasse looks poised to pick up right where she left of last season — scoring goals for the Black and Gold.