HILLSBORO, Ore. – The formula for head coach Chris Logan’s North Dakota soccer team is becoming tried and true: a clutch goal from Katie Moller, lockdown defensive play, and timely saves from Catherine Klein. That formula was used to perfection again today in a 1-0 win at Portland State that inched the Fighting Hawks ever so close to their first-ever berth in the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
It was also the first time UND has ever defeated the Vikings.
Moller scored her team-leading ninth goal of the season before the game was 15 minutes old and her teammates shut down the Big Sky’s second-place team the rest of the way to at least move temporarily into a tie for fifth place in the conference pending the outcome of Friday’s other games.
For her part, Klein only had to face four shots on goal but was perfect for the second straight game in picking up her fifth shutout of the season. Logan said UND’s primary focus was on locking down Big Sky scoring leader Katie Forsee.
“We decided in the first half to mark her player for player and Emily Smithson did an outstanding job of this,” said Logan. “The rest of the team stayed focused and resilient to what they had to deal with.”
Moller’s nine goals triple the nine she scored last year as a sophomore, but Logan said a supporting cast has started to emerge around the West Linn, Ore., native.
“I did think we had some good support for Katie,” said Logan. “Mimi Eiden (who assisted on the goal) was really strong and dangerous today, as she has been of late. Savannah Sibold and Mara Yapello were lively and it’s great to see others giving Katie support and good service.”
Now UND heads into the final two games of the regular season controlling its own fate to be one of the six teams that makes the first Big Sky Tournament.
“We have been talking about postseason too much with the team. We really just focus on playing well every game and enjoying our soccer,” said Logan. “What happens at the end of the season we will see, but as a staff we are so incredibly proud of this team and the way they come to play every single day.
“When we compete, we can play with anyone and these ladies just keep on playing with an incredible amount of believe and love for the game. They’re so fun to coach.”
The Fighting Hawks wrap up their road swing on Sunday at Montana before returning home Oct. 27 for the regular-season finale against Northern Colorado.
Notes: Each team had 14 shot attempts … PSU had four corner kicks to UND’s 1 … Morgan Matthews of the Vikings received a yellow card in the 41st minute … Klein’s five shutouts are a UND single-season record during the Division I era.