AUBURN, Ala. – North Dakota head coach Chris Logan was asked to assess his team after a pair of road games against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.
On Sunday night, a pair of Kristen Dodson goals early in the second half lifted No. 20 Auburn – a NCAA quarterfinalist a year ago – to a 2-0 win over the Fighting Hawks. Two days earlier, UND was edged 1-0 at 2016 Summit League champ South Dakota State.
UND will return home with a 2-2 record after winning two games during the entire 2016 season.
“I’m really proud of the grit we showed against an elite team. If we can compete like that at our mid-major level, we should be a force to be reckoned with,” said Logan.
UND battled the Tigers to a scoreless halftime tie thanks in large part to sophomore goalkeeper Catherine Klein, who made nine of her 12 saves in the opening 45 minutes. But Dodson broke the game open in the first two minutes of the second half and followed with her second of the game eight minutes later.
Those two goals were the difference between an upstart UND program and a SEC powerhouse on this night.
“We just played a team that went to the Elite Eight last year and we showed grit and resiliency against a very good Auburn team,” said Logan. “We competed for 90 minutes. At halftime with the score tied, we talked to the girls and said whatever happens, let’s keep it close and really go for it at the end.”
UND was able to generate possession time in the second half but could not muster a shot until the 57th minute.
“We tried to go for broke late but couldn’t get any great looks,” said Logan.
The Fighting Hawks return home to host Omaha on Sept. 1 and Logan says his program learned about itself on the rod trip.
“The team learned they can pay with anyone on any day,” said Logan. “They also realize we have another gear to go to. We left some things offensively on the table. We didn’t want to just defend (against SDSU and Auburn), we wanted to attack.
“We need to work on that” continued Logan, “and if we do, we can be dangerous on both sides.”
Notes: Alyssa Malonson assisted on both Auburn goals … Junior Katie Moller had the lone shot for UND … The Fighting Hawks return home to host Omaha (Sept. 1) and South Dakota (Sept. 3) next weekend at Bronson Field