Soccer team triumphs in home opener

VICTORY: UND claimed its first victory in six games after defeating NDSU last Wednesday.

There was a strong southern wind Wednesday afternoon at Bronson Field as the UND Women’s soccer team got its first win after six consecutive road losses.

The home team faced its neighbor rival, North Dakota State University, for a 4-2 win.

Right away, the shouts of the women communicating to one another consumed the field, as the fast-paced game warranted a lot of player-to-player talking.

North Dakota State had only seven shots on goal in the first half to UND’s 11. The game was up and down the field and right back up again, until 10:55 into the game, when UND sophomore forward, Caitlin Dahl, scored an unassisted shot from 30 yards out. The ball went off the crossbar and in past NDSU’s goalkeeper Sierra Bonham for the first goal of the game.

Both teams went the rest of the first half without scoring, ending period one with a score of 1-0. UND’s goalkeeper Kristi Hestdalen had a few great saves, playing a big part in keeping North Dakota State scoreless in the first.

UND had the kick-off in the second half and quickly put to use its possession of the ball, scoring just four minutes and 20 seconds in. Robyn Wujkowski headed the ball into the net amidst a scramble of players to get North Dakota’s second goal of the game. Good defense by North Dakota, along with continuous communication across the field, showed excellent team chemistry and good effort by the UND women.

With 28 minutes left in the game, North Dakota State crossed the ball over the net and set Katie Tassas up for a well-aimed header, getting the first goal of the game for NDSU.

Nine minutes later, UND’s Zoe Foster responded by stealing the ball 25 yards out and kicking in the far corner of the goal. Just three minutes after that, Wujkowski got a fast break up the left side of the field. She proceeded to cross the ball to her teammate Marissa Ricci, who then chipped the ball into the net right over the goalie.

The score remained 4-1, North Dakota, until with less than 20 seconds left in the game, NDSU’s Meghan Johnston put in a shot off a block from the front of the net. The final result was a celebration for the Green and White.

“We did a lot of work in the spring for our team chemistry, so the group of eight freshmen was able to come in to an already cohesive group and have the idea of team first and individual second,” UND coach Matt Kellogg said. “The personalities have blended really well with the returners.”

Kellogg used halftime to refocus his team.

“The biggest message was just to play our game,” he said. “Don’t look at the scoreboard, don’t get rattled. They are only dangerous when we allow them to cut into the middle. Today we actually executed for 90 minutes what we’ve been training to do, and we’ve got to play a full 90 minutes from here on out.”

North Dakota will play again this Sunday against Boise State at 4:30 p.m. in Bronson Field.

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