Head coach Greg Cane reached another milestone in his remarkable coaching career at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Stuck at 199 wins since the Oct. 6 victory over Mary, Cane would have to wait patiently for the second game of the week.
UMD had the chance to squander an opportunity to hand No. 3 Minnesota State-Mankato its first conference loss of the year. UMD played well enough to stay within striking distance, trailing 2-1 at the half. But Mankato would prevail with three second-half goals and beat UMD 5-1.
But on Sunday, Cane finally reached his 200th victory of his UMD coaching career when the Bulldogs responded with an offensive onslaught against Concordia-St. Paul.
“I’m proud of Coach Cane on reaching the milestone,” said senior keeper Hanna Iaizzo. “I know his mother would be very proud of him. She was there watching us every game she could.”
Cane’s mother, Margaret “Peg” Cane, passed away in the middle of August, right before the beginning of the season. She was a fixture in the stands for nearly 18 years of Bulldog soccer.
The Bulldogs’ aggressive offensive mindset pressured the Golden Bears on their side of the field for most of the game on Sunday. UMD would pull through in the 25th minute when Dani Potter connected with the net with her fifth goal of the year, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Concordia-St. Paul would tie it up eight minutes later on a breakaway goal, but UMD would soon take the lead again right before the half, when Maureen Stormont put it past the keeper.
Kelsey Gratz and Abby Serreyn added insurance goals in the second half and the Bulldogs would prevail 4-2 over the Golden Bears.
“Overall, I thought we played well both games,” said defender Ashley Brown. “We played our style each game but Mankato capitalized on some bounces that didn’t go our way. The score didn’t indicate how well we played against a very good team.”
Since the program started in 1994, Greg Cane has coached every soccer game for the Bulldogs. Since building the foundation of the soccer club from the ground up, Cane has produced five Northern Sun Intercollegiate titles along with five NSIC postseason titles. Cane has also made two NCAA tournament appearances.
“Cane really helped me find my niche,” said Brown. “I’m glad I’m playing for him at UMD and that I was a part of his 200th win. It is really an honor to get him that victory.”
The split this weekend earned Cane and his Bulldogs three points on the weekend but it dropped the Bulldogs into a tie for 10th in the conference.
If the Bulldogs are going to make a run and sneak into the playoffs, they are going to have to do it on the road. Only four games remain in the season, and three of them are on the road. This weekend, the Bulldogs will head to Northern State and Minnesota State-Moorhead.
BY EVAN SMEGAL firstname.lastname@example.org