GRAND FORKS, N.D. – After starting North Dakota’s past three games, sophomore goalkeeper Catherine Klein was forced to sit out today’s home match against Omaha.
Enter junior Olivia Swenson, who made six saves in a scoreless overtime draw in double overtime against the Mavericks at Bronson Field. It was Swenson’s second shutout in as many starts and the third of her career.
Swenson’s stabilizing performance also helped her Fighting Hawks teammates fend off an aggressive Omaha attack, particularly in the first half when the Mavericks had a decided possession advantage.
UND head coach Chris Logan said his squad had every intention of pushing the pace against UNO, but the visiting Mavericks had other ideas.
“We were really rattled in the first half,” said Logan. “I was really impressed with [Omaha]. They moved the ball well and we had to kind of solve it at halftime. We had to change our system and that nullified them a bit and helped us get a foothold in the game.”
Despite Omaha’s fast start, UND was able to limit the number of Maverick scoring chances, particularly during regulation. Swenson was there when needed, notching half of her six saves during over time.
“Olivia’s an awesome goalkeeper,” said Logan. “She’s just so steady back there.”
UND has yet to allow a goal through its first two home games after also pitching shutouts in a pair of home exhibition matches.
The Fighting Hawks enjoyed a much-improved second half, with eight shots and a handful of quality scoring chances. The best came when Megan Wright’s apparent goal in the 68th minute was nullified by a UND offside. Wright also hit the bar during overtime.
“We have to get better in the attack,” said Logan, whose team has been blanked in three straight games after a 4-goal barrage in UND’s home opener against Western Illinois. “We have some really dangerous attackers but right now they’re not firing on all cylinders.
“I was disappointed we didn’t get a goal in the second half,” continued Logan. “That 45 minutes was a good stretch. But credit to Omaha, they were the better team in the first half and I think they were unlucky not to be winning the game at halftime.”
Logan said UND has clearly established itself as a strong defensive unit, but now must find a way to become a more balanced team at the other end of the field.
“I know we can defend, but today the idea was to attack and we never came out the way that we were hoping apart from in the second half,” said Logan. “I think we are a lot better on the attack than people give us credit for right now, it’s just that we’ve got to be a little more composed on the ball in the final third and we’ve certainly got to be more composed in front of the goal.”
UND will host South Dakota on Sunday at noon Central at Bronson Field.
Notes: Attendance was 201 … Omaha starting goalkeeper Haley Johnson left the game with an injury in the 79th minute and was replaced by Erin Bunker. Bunker made a pair of saves to earn the tie … UND had a 16-14 edge in shots, led by Katie Moller and Kennedy Kidd, who had three each … UND has shutouts in each of its first two home games for the first time since 2007, the program’s final season of Division II competition.