Dani Potter and Maureen Stormont led the UMD soccer team in points last year and the duo continued their scoring ways to kick off the 2013 season. Each player tallied a goal in a victory over Northern Michigan last Thursday that marked the beginning of the 20th season of Bulldog soccer. “This offseason we really focused on our fitness,” said Potter, who buried her penalty shot past the diving Wildcat keeper to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 cushion in the 68th minute Thursday. “Coach (Greg Cane) wanted us to be aggressive, force the action on the opposing defense and keep attacking them.”
The Bulldogs pushed the pace early and often, collecting nine shots and five corner kicks in the first half. Stormont netted her first goal of the season off a counter-attack set up by a turnover at midfield.
Stormont ran down the seam and entered a footrace for the ball. Northern Michigan goalie Caroline Glantz came out to cover the ball, but collided with her defender, freeing Stormont with the ball. The junior forward spun around and fired a missile into the unoccupied net before the defense could recover.
“We wanted to set the tone offensively and push (the Wildcats) back on their heels,” said UMD goalkeeper Marissa Rosa, who made two saves in the 2-1 win. “My teammates did a great job of not allowing anything close and they kept the action outside and on the other side of the field.”
The Bulldog defense allowed very few opportunities at the net. Northern Michigan’s only goal came on a strike from 30 yards out that went over the outstretched hands of Rosa.
UMD used that same game plan Sunday against North Dakota State. The Bulldogs controlled the majority of play in the first half, outshooting the Division I Bison 8-6 on the road.
The Bison would strike first, however, on a breakaway goal by Lauren Miller in the 38th minute. The Bulldogs would launch an assault in the final minutes of the half, but couldn’t convert before intermission.
Miller would strike again coming out of the break to extend the Bison lead to 2-0. UMD junior Kelli Klun answered back, slicing the lead in half by hitting the upper right corner with 22 minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs had a chance for the equalizer in the 79th minute off a corner by Potter, but couldn’t capitalize after multiple opportunities. North Dakota State cleared the ball out and added an insurance goal a couple minutes later to put the game away.
“We went into their place and we got to compete at (the Division I) level,” Potter said. “We weren't overmatched and we had the chances to pull out a win. (North Dakota State) made a few more plays than we did.”
UMD (1-1) will use that non-conference experience Sunday when it takes the pitch for an NSIC road battle against St. Cloud State.
BY EVAN SMEGAL firstname.lastname@example.org