After a 1-0 loss to North Dakota State Friday afternoon in Vermillion, the Coyote women’s soccer team has to win Sunday and receive some help to reach the Summit League Tournament this season.
North Dakota State (9-6,6-2) scored the lone goal of Friday’s in the 61st minute when Junior Mariah Haberle scored off an assist by freshman Dani Stuber and senior Holly Enderle. With the win, the Bison are one of three teams who’ve clinched a conference playoff berth, joining South Dakota State and Denver. The Coyote’s loss puts their record at 8-7-2 overall and 3-4 in Summit League play.
“I think this game showed that soccer is truly a game of inches and one of the things we talked about because of how we play, we tend to get chances early in the game and it’s not that we didn’t take them well.” Head coach Michael Thomas said. “A ball off the crossbar goes an inch lower and their keeper comes up with a game changing save and we come out on the wrong side of it. Even though the result did not go our way, I think the product on the field shows how far the women have come. ”
Both teams were able to find holes and take shots, as a total of 31 were fired, but only one goal showed for it. The Bison’s Haberle, Enderly and senior Mallory Fenske along with the Coyotes’ Freshman Joana Zanin and Junior Taryn LaBree had three shots each.
North Dakota State goalkeeper Monica Polgar recorded four saves for the game. USD senior goalkeeper Parker Rytz had a career day even with the goal allowed. Her 11 saves tied a career best that was set in August of this year against Eastern Washington. She is also second in the Summit League in saves this year.
“I think honestly just trusting my instincts and working on my training.” Rytz said about what went well for her. “I play best when I kind of don’t think and just go out and play.”
The lone remaining regular season game for the Coyotes will determine the fate of their season. They host North Dakota this Sunday, Oct. 28 at First Bank and Trust Soccer Complex. South Dakota will clinch with a win and losses from Omaha and Oral Roberts over the weekend.
“Honestly I think we are just going to stick together,” LaBree said. “I think if we come out and play how we play for 90 minutes we’ll for sure win the game and hopefully get an upset to happen in the Summit League.”
Thomas said he has been giving the team that same message all season, and wants them to continue to follow through.
“The discussion I had with them is, we’re not eliminated but it comes back to the goal that is to play every minute and compete every minute.” Thomas said. “That was a goal we set early in the year and a lot of success has followed that very simple goal. With the success that follows that goal we need to continue to finish it out.”