Women’s soccer prepares for Summit League conference play
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Women’s soccer prepares for Summit League conference play

The USD women’s soccer team is looking to turn their season around for the beginning of Summit League conference play this week.

“It looks like we’ve been off to a rough start, but it’s the best this team has played against the strongest competition we’ve faced,” said Mandy Green, the team’s head coach.

The Coyotes have an overall record of 2-8 heading into conference play, following the Sept. 17 loss to University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2-0.

“I don’t think our record reflects how our season has been going,” said Kellee Willer, a sophomore midfielder.

The Coyotes’ season started with four regular season losses to Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, 14th-ranked Nebraska and Northern Iowa.

“How we’ve been playing and where we sit right now, I think we have a good chance to make a strong run at making top four in the conference,” Green said.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the top four teams in the Summit League qualify for the conference tournament.

The Coyotes picked up their first win of the season in exciting fashion with a 1-0 overtime win over Creighton on Aug. 31. The game-winner was scored by Taryn LaBree and assisted by Waller.

USD earned its second win against the University of North Dakota 1-0 on Sept. 3.

“We haven’t got the results we’ve hoped,” Willer said. “We definitely have been improving and we’re hoping to surprise people in conference play.”

The team has several goals left to accomplish this season, especially once conference play beings.

“I’m an attacking mid, so I want to be a dominant force on the ball and dribbling on the backline while distributing to our forwards,” Willer said. “I want to create more scoring opportunities and score myself.”

Willer has 19 total shots, five on goal and an assist in 10 games played this season. LaBree, freshman forward Maddison Sullivan and junior forward Zoe Anderson each have scored one goal.

“Our first three games of conference play are against the top teams in the conference,” Green said. “It has always been a battle, and right now the conference is up for grabs.”

The Coyotes begin Summit League play on Thursday in Fargo, ND, where they’ll face North Dakota State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.