GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The University of North Dakota women’s soccer team concluded their exhibition schedule with a 3-0 loss to Viterbo on Monday at Bronson Field.
While the end result wasn’t what UND would have liked, second-year head coach Matt Kellogg and his staff had many takeaways from the game.
"I'm okay with today," Kellogg said after the game. "We switched our system from the game against Minnesota and I think it's actually going to work out for us."
"We didn't actually have a training session with our new system. For us to kind of get through the first half with sloppy conditions and a team we had no information about. Then we kind of figured it out at half time and it looked a lot cleaner, and a lot less chances for Viterbo to take in the second half. So going forward, I think we started to solidify who we are going to play where in this new system and which lineups work better with which."
A total of 18 players saw action for UND, including eight of 11 freshmen. Freshman defender Emily Smithson logged a team-high 81 minutes to anchor the North Dakota backend. Senior goalkeeper Kristi Hestdalen made three saves in the first 45 minutes of action, while freshman keeper, Maia Lundstrom played the final half of the contest, needing to make just one save.
"I stole a page out of the NFL and their preseason games; I wanted to play a couple different lineups, see how players meshed," Kellogg added. "We actually scripted out our entire first half, when we were going to sub and who we were going to sub for who, so we didn't leave it up to the game situation.”
The first half saw rain being the factor, and Viterbo took advantage scoring two goals in the 14th and 43rd minutes; however, in the second half, the young UND squad found their legs and began to settle onto their home field. Viterbo’s chances came few and far between in the second half only scoring one goal off a defensive miscue in the 69th minute.
"In the first half you saw us playing a lot of through balls and that's not going to be recipe for success," Kellogg said. "We're going to have to find feet and get forward as a unit, instead of having one or two players looking to go forward on their own."
"We really made a point in our half time discussion to talk about finding our outside midfielders. They were going to be the key for us, and I think our central midfielders and our outside midfielders started to get on the same page and we were looking for feet."
UND attempted 15 total shots with 11 of those coming in the second half. However, UND could only register five on target. Freshman forward Zoe Berlinquette and senior midfielder Juliette Austin led UND with three shots each.
“I think you saw that we played a much more disciplined game in the second half from the first half, and it showed," Kellogg said. "We created more chances than they did and they didn't have as many as they did in the first half."
North Dakota opens the regular-season with a pair of rivals. UND travels to face in-state rival North Dakota State on Friday at 7 p.m., before returning home to host South Dakota State on Sunday at 1 p.m.