GRAND FORKS, N.D. – First-year Fighting Hawks head coach Chris Logan has guided the UND soccer program to its first 2-0 start of the Division I era.
Katie Moller scored twice, Olivia Geiwitz and Erin Svensson added single tallies, and Olivia Swenson made eight saves in a 4-0 North Dakota’s win over visiting Western Illinois today at Bronson Field, a non-conference matchup between future Summit League foes.
What a difference a year makes. Last season, Moller led a two-win UND squad with three goals all season. Today, she was a hit bar away from matching that total.
“I have seen this coming since freshman year,” said Moller. “We have always had the talent and drive.”
Both of those traits were on full display as UND, fresh off a rivalry win at North Dakota State on Friday, blistered the Leathernecks with a 16-4 shots advantage in the opening half. It took until the 23-minute mark for UND to open the scoring, but that’s when the Fighting Hawks blitzed WIU goalkeeper Ines Palmiero for three goals in 10 minutes.
Moller opened the scoring with a brilliant individual effort, working her way to the middle of the field and powering a shot past Palmiero to the top right corner for a 1-0 lead.
Geiwitz followed less than three minutes later when an errant UND cross ricocheted off a WIU defender right to the Eden Prairie, Minn., native and she buried it before Palmiero had a chance to reset herself.
Svensson made it 3-0 in the 34th minute, finding the net on a long, arching shot from 40 yards out.
Moller added her second goal of the game at 68:43 to round out the scoring.
Simplicity and aggression seemed to be today’s keys for the team.
“Coach (Logan) just tells us to go out there and be dangerous,” said Logan. “It way easier to do that than worrying about this and that.”
After the 3-goal first half staked the Fighting Hawks to a comfortable lead, Swenson held things down in the second half when she made five her eight saves. It was the fourth shutout in as many games for UND, including a pair of exhibition wins.
“We’re getting numbers forward and we’re really taking risks in our attack. The execution by our forwards in the first half was very good,” said Logan. “I think ‘belief’ is a big word. We inherited a great group of young women and they’re playing with confidence, with belief."
Continued Logan: “They’re playing on the front foot and they’re having fun. They’re fun to coach and they’re a lot of fun to watch right now.”
The team opens up next weekend’s play at South Dakota State on Friday and at Auburn on Sunday. On Sept. 1, the Fighting Hawks host Omaha at 4 p.m. at Bronson Field.
Notes: Svensson assisted on Moller’s second goal, the lone assist of the contest … Attendance was 273 … UND finished the game with a 21-17 edge in shots. Each team had eight shots on goal … The last time UND started a regular season 2-0 was in 2007, the program’s final season of Division II competition … Swenson’s shutout was the second of her career, tying her with Monica Stierman (2007-10) and Ashley Salberg (2000-02) for ninth all-time at UND.