GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Idaho's Myah Merino broke a 1-1 tie in the 78th minute to give the Vandals a 2-1 Big Sky Conference victory over host North Dakota on Sunday afternoon.
The loss was UND’s fourth straight in conference play, dropping the Fighting Hawks’ Big Sky record to 2-4-0) with four matches remaining on the regular-season schedule.
Merino’s game-winning goal late in the second half was particularly painful given that UND freshmen Mimi Eiden had knotted the game just eight minutes earlier on her second goal of the season. Eiden gathered a loose ball at the top of the box and drilled a low shot past diving Idaho goalkeeper Makayla Presgrave.
However, that was the only time UND could solve Presgrave despite a 14-6 advantage in shot attempts and a 9-3 edge in shots on goal. It was the first time this season UND out-shot a Big Sky opponent and the first time since Sept. 1 vs. Omaha.
“I thought we did enough to get a result out of the game but when you play against teams like Eastern Washington and Idaho, they have a way of getting results. We’re just not quite there yet,” said UND coach Chris Logan.
“I don’t have any complaint against either result, teams at the top end of the conference just have a knack and a know-how of getting results when the chips are down. As a program right now, we’re still evolving.”
The Vandals opened the scoring in the game’s 26th minute on Taylor Brust’s second tally of the year. Logan and the Fighting Hawks pushed the issue in search of the equalizer the rest of the way, and found a boost in the form of Eiden’s late game-tying goal.
“We were pushing to try and get back into the game. That’s when we scored, but the flip side is you’ve got one less player in the back to guard against a goal and they nicked one,” said Logan.
The loss was a blow for UND’s quest for a Big Sky Conference Tournament berth, but Logan said that remains the team’s focus.
“There’s still enough time to make the playoffs,” said Logan. “It’s a tough road, especially with three games on the road, but if we get that edge about us – part of that is just the consequence of year-to-year improving and finding that willingness to win a game.”
Consistently-strong effort remains a positive theme for Logan’s team, as evidenced today by decisively out-shooting the visiting Vandals.
“I’m proud of the ladies after this weekend. I have no complaints about the way we competed,” said Logan. “We know that any type of game is going to be a battle. We’re up for every game. Regardless of if we’re ready to be a postseason team or not, we give our all every game and we’re never going to lie down to anybody.”
UND now faces a three-game road stretch that includes stops at Southern Utah (Oct. 15), Portland State (Oct. 20) and Montana (Oct. 22).
“We’re going to leave everything on the field and I know that’s what we’ll do next weekend.”
Notes: Freshman Ashley Ebeling collected her first career point when she drew the lone assist on Eiden’s goal … Eiden and Moller led all players with three shots on goal apiece. Moller’s six shot attempts were a game high … Each team had two corner kicks.