Soccer team backed by record-setting goalie

SOCCER: Green and White goalkeeper remembers journey that led her to the net.

UND goalkeeper Kristi Hestdalen saves the ball. She set a new record for UND with 244 saves — erasing the previous record of 239. Photo courtesy of UNDsports/Eric Classen. 

Junior goalkeeper Kristi Hestdalen had 10 saves in Sunday’s game against Boise State.

UND lost 3-1, but Hestdalen kept Boise’s points minimal while making the biggest saves of her career. She whizzed past previous record-holder Lauren Sera, who had 239 career saves, and upped the record to 244.

“I imagined that I could break the record, but I just didn’t think that it would be able to happen so soon,” Hestdalen said. “I thought it could happen during my senior year. It meant a lot to me because my teammates and family have supported me so much the entire way through.”

Hastdalen, a Pierre, S.D. native, grew up from the age of 3 playing soccer.

“My dad started coaching me when I was very little,” Hestdalen said. “He’s helped me so much throughout the years, and he’s still there for me to this day. My high school coaches also had a big influence on me.”

The 2010 season was the last for UND’s former goalie Monica Stierman, which was convenient for Hestdalen, who played more than 1,500 minutes her freshman year in 2011.

“What brought me to UND was the chance to play as a freshman,” Hestdalen said. “I saw myself starting right away because the previous goalie had just graduated. I finally got comfortable about midway through my freshman season, and it’s been a smooth transition since. I just needed to get accustomed to my teammates and the level of competition.”

After setting this new career saves record so early on in her junior year, Hestdalen remains focused on the rest of the reason.

“The most important thing to me is helping the team advance as far as we can,” she said. “Personally, I’d like to break more records or make it so I can keep this record for a while.”

Hestdalen has an ambitious spirit, and has more than this recent record to show for it. During her freshman year, she was named Great West Conference Player of the Week three times. She also made 104 saves to rank fourth in UND single-season history.

Hestdalen is majoring in forensic science, and last year she was named to the Big Sky Fall All-Academic Team. She was also ranked second in the Big Sky Conference in saves (97) and saves per game (6.06) during her Sophomore year.

Hestdalen humbly remembers those who have made her successful career possible.

“My teammates make it so much easier to find success at this level,” she said. “We always have each other’s backs, and I can trust them to protect me every step of the way.”

North Dakota hits the field again this weekend against the South Dakota Coyotes (4-2-2), a team they played once last year and after two overtimes, were still tied with, 4-4.

The teams will face off at 3 p.m. Friday on Bronson Field in Grand Forks.

Marie Monson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at