FARGO, N.D. -- In a day where a future football game stole headlines, it was a different kind of football game played in Fargo, N.D., as the University of North Dakota women’s soccer team opened the 2014 season will a tough loss to North Dakota State, 1-0, Friday night at Dacotah Field.
The home crowd fueled North Dakota State as they pressured the young-UND backline early and often. However, it was a bend-but-don’t-break mentality for UND that kept them around for much of the game.
Head coach Matt Kellogg was impressed with his team’s effort overall, especially his young backline, “I think we kept them at bay, especially late in the game when we started to press to get the ball back. I was happy with the way our backline adjusted; we have a young backline, we have two payers back there that have never played a college game in their life and I thought they did dealt well with NDSU’s Anisha Kinnarath up top for them, who was a handful.”
Senior goalkeeper Kristi Hestdalen made two big saves on two corners for NDSU just than five minutes into the game, setting the strong defensive tone to start the game. Hestdalen ended with five saves at halftime, and it was with 20 minutes remaining in that first half where the young UND team found their legs.
Freshman Sabrina Majerczyk crossed a ball into the box to fellow freshman Austin Overson, but the shot was just wide of the goal. It was from there until the end of the first half where UND took control.
North Dakota outshot the Bison 4-1 in the last 20 minutes, but could not find the target on any of their attempts.
“We were playing and executing our game plan, which was definitely to find the feet of the outside mids,” Kellogg added, “We did that and we had space to run at NDSU, which allowed ourselves time to get forward with numbers. Our players did a good job of recognizing that it was on and then they took the space.”
Once again, North Dakota State came right out of the gates to start the second half as the Bison fired three shots in the first 10 minutes forcing Hestdalen to make two saves.
It was then in the 63rd minute where a defensive miscue by UND gave NDSU the chance it needed. A mishit on a clear attempt put the ball on the feet of NDSU’s Lauren Miller who chipped it over Hestdalen to give NDSU the lead. It was a mistake that cost UND the game, but overall the defensive effort was solid.
UND’s best chance in the second half came in the 71st minute on an NDSU defensive miscue as Zoe Foster was left all alone in front, but placed her shot just high.
Six UND freshmen saw their first regular season collegiate action tonight. Freshman midfielder Liz McDowell, sophomore defender Kirsten Olson, and junior forward Andrea Hyduke all logged 90 minutes of action tonight to lead UND. Senior goalkeeper Kristi Hestdalen was also on her game tonight, as she posted eight more saves to add to her all-time record at UND. Additionally, five players recorded a shot for UND tonight.
Kellogg believes that his team made a big step tonight and grew as a team and will continue to grow from here.
“We're going to take this and go; we're going to feed off of this. We competed with a good team and we didn't back down. It's a pretty tough task to start off your college career with a rivalry game, at the rival, at night. I don't think our players panicked, they played composed and I was very proud of our whole team, the way they battled for the 90 minutes.”
North Dakota will return home to host South Dakota State on Sunday. The game will kickoff at 1 p.m. from Bronson Field.