Freshman forward Joana Zanin was responsible for four of the five goals in her first career start for USD in a 4-0 win over Purdue Fort Wayne (3-11-3, 0-6) on Thursday at First Bank and Trust Soccer Complex in Vermillion.
Zanin opened the scoring for the Coyotes (8-6-2, 3-3) in the sixth minute with a goal assisted by junior forward Kellee Willer. In the first minute of the second half, Zanin again got the cross from Willer, giving USD a 2-0 lead. The two assists for Willer bumps her into second in the Summit League with seven assists.
“It was my first time starting. With all of the nerves and I didn’t know what to expect,” Zanin said. “I had to come out and show the coach why he should put me in.”
Nearly two minutes later, Zanin assisted on a Taryn LaBree goal. The goal was LaBree’s sixth, leading the team. The final goal of the game came in the 86th minute when sophomore Maddison Sullivan scored her second goal of the season, assisted by freshman Kisa Omerovic
“I am really proud of all the women. We’ve been on the road for what feels like a really long time.” Head coach Michael Thomas said. “We played four of our first five (Summit League) games on the road, and five out of our last seven overall, so I know they were excited to be back at home.”
Senior Parker Rytz was in goal for the Coyotes and saved both of Purdue-Fort Wayne’s shots on goal, pushing her into second in the Summit League with 74 saves. USD fired 14 shots, nine on goal.
The Coyotes host North Dakota State, who is third in the Summit League standings, on Friday at 3 p.m. Sunday. USD wraps up the regular season at home against North Dakota and the Summit League’s leading scorer Katie Moller.
The Coyotes are tied with Oral Roberts for the final Summit League tournament spot, so their next two games determine if USD wins a bid to the Summit League tournament.
Zanin said playing on familiar turf will aid their chances.
“It is a big advantage because we are used to the atmosphere here,” Zanin said. “They are the team stressing, not us because we are playing on our field. I think it will be a big benefit to us.”