Nation's leading scorer began trip to Iowa in Canada

Lacasse brings international flavor to Hawkeyes

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April 1, 2014 | 12:46 am

IOWA CITY – When the United States women’s soccer team played Canada, Cloe Lacasse was the only one not wearing blue, but there was plenty of red and white.

“That was kind fun because she was the only one dressed in all Canada stuff, Dana Dalrymple said. “Just the whole outfit, we gave her a hard time the whole game.”

After the game, she heads to the “wash room” rather than a locker room.

“It was funny, the first week she called the changing room ‘the wash room,’’ Ashley Catrell said. “We’re like it’s a locker room, not a wash room.”

And seeing the streets painted gold with Iowa t-shirts trekking to Kinnick Stadium wasn’t something that made a whole lot of sense to her at first.

“It was definitely a news flash the first time I saw everyone at a football game. I was just like oh my gosh,” Lacasse said. “I was like ‘What’s the big deal?’ We’re not used to seeing that.”

Lacasse, a native of Ontario, Canada, took some time getting acclimated to American culture, but on the soccer field at the University of Iowa, she hit the ground running.

As a freshman she rewrote the Iowa record books tallying the most shots (79) in a single season that led to the second most goals (12) and points (30) in a season.

Hopefully they were rewritten in pencil. As a sophomore this year through 10 games, Lacasse already has 11 goals and 28 points. Her six assists are also as many as she tallied last year. If that wasn’t enough, her 11 goals are tops in the nation – maybe Canada too – and her 2.80 points per game ranks second in the country.

“It’s awesome and I think the ceiling is still high for her,” Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said.

Rainey saw that high ceiling in Toronto when Lacasse was a freshman in high school. The talent he saw was nothing new. Lacasse routinely displayed her skills at showcase tournaments in Toronto. The games were the easy part, getting there was a whole different story.

Growing up in Sudbury, Ontario, Toronto is about a four hour drive. It was a trip she and her family made nearly every weekend.

“You miss out on a few things but you gain other things,” Lacasse said. “Just high school stuff like prom, dances and all that other stuff. I don’t really mind (missing them).”

The sacrifices helped her accomplish her goal of competing in the Big Ten. As an eighth grader before Rainey had seen Lacasse play, the forward stumbled upon a Big Ten soccer game on TV. From that moment there wasn’t another conference she wanted to play in.

It coincided with the time she began participating in showcases and a year later Rainey noticed her talent and another good sign.

“One, you notice she is a player. Two, we share the same birthday,” Rainey said. “So kind of a funny deal there, so I saw her as a freshman and then as a coach you’re always like, that’s a player. That kid can play.”

It’s the kind of play that has now teams focusing their defensive game plans around her. It hasn’t slowed her down and has actually helped the offense.

With teams focusing on Lacasse, both Catrell and Dalrymple have seen their production increase from a year ago. As a junior Dalrymple finished the season with five goals and three assists. This year she already has four goals and two assists.

Catrell has seen the most improvement. In her sophomore season, the forward tallied two goals and two assist. This year she has seven goals and two assists.

“She’s very smart too. She knows when to pass when to shoot,” Catrell said. “She knows where we are on the field which is good for our team. Like Dana will be running through and she can play it at her. She’ll play it at my feet so she can run through. She just knows what to do.”

So far Rainey has known what to do with Lacasse as well. But he has even bigger plans for her going forward. Despite being one of the top players in the country this year, Rainey said she still has room to grow on the field not just in the Big Ten, but internationally.

“I truly believe that she has some intangibles that she can continue to progress as a player not just at Iowa but even at the highest levels at her country.”

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