GRAND FORKS, N.D. – When a team is struggling to generate offense as North Dakota has as of late, a bad bounce can leave a team on the wrong side of a thin margin for error.
The Fighting Hawks found that out the hard way on Sunday afternoon at Bronson Field, falling victim to an own goal that stood as the only scoring in a 1-0 South Dakota victory.
It was the fourth straight shutout loss suffered by UND, now 2-3-1 after a 2-0 start to the season.
South Dakota’s Katelyn Floysand lobbed a ball at the UND goal from long range in the 24th minute, and the ball took an errant deflection off a UND defender and into the net past goalkeeper Olivia Swenson.
It was the only offense the Coyotes needed, and it also kept Swenson from earning her third shutout in as many starts this season.
“[Today was] just a continuation from Friday, I think,” said UND head coach Chris Logan. “Can’t fault the effort, the defensive organization or any of that, but it’s becoming kind of a habit right now: we’re not able to put the ball into the net. We had several great chances today but we’re not scoring and when you don’t score you can’t win games.”
Of the decisive own goal, Logan said it was merely an unlucky bounce but one that exacerbated UND’s recent inability to score on the offensive end.
“That’s when you kind of say, ‘What can you do?’” said Logan. “It’s a deflection from, like, 30 yards out. That’s not really preventable. Outside of that, I think we did a good job defensively of preventing them from getting chances.”
Aside from that goal, UND withstood a significant wind disadvantage in the opening 45 minutes. Once the teams switched sides, the host Fighting Hawks were able to sustain more possession during the second half and generated a quality of handful of chances that Logan alluded to.
Two of UND’s best opportunities came in the opening six minutes of the second half, first an Emma Contino header off a corner kick that required a diving save by USD goalkeeper Coral Suarez. The second was a deep Liz McDowell bid that caught the bar four minutes later.
“There’s not a game this year I can fault the effort. The effort’s been magnificent. It’s just the execution, it’s just not been there,” said Logan. “We’re just not finishing our chances. The positive side is we’re creating them and I’m pleased that we’re creating chances.”
For the game, USD held a 19-11 shots advantage and 9-4 shots-on-goal edge. Swenson made nine saves while her counterpart Suarez had four.
The Fighting Hawks, who were also forced to navigate injuries to multiple key players this weekend, will get 12 days off before returning to action Sept. 15 at home against South Dakota State.
“This weekend’s been disappointing,” said Logan. “Our soccer at times needs to be…I don’t want to say prettier, but more effective. We’re a little bit too predictable, a little bit too long-ball.
“The defensive resiliency is great. It’s just the other side of the ball we’ve got to fix.”
Notes: Attendance was 227 … Contino had two of UND’s four shots on goal. She also received the lone yellow card of the game … USD’s Taryn LaBree led all players in shots (6) and shots on goal (4).