It wasn’t the best weekend for the UMD soccer team. The Bulldogs managed to pull out a 2-1 win against Sioux Falls Saturday, but were blanked 3-0 by Southwest Minnesota State Sunday for their first conference loss of 2013. Sioux Falls put the Bulldogs in their first opening-half hole of the season on a goal by Maria Gonzalez in the 30th minute. The goal, Gonzalez’s second of the year, gave the Cougars their first lead in any game this season.
The Cougars, who are winless since making the jump to the NCAA Division II ranks, could not hold off the Bulldogs in the second half.
Rookie midfielder Marissa Ganske started the rally in the 52th minute when her unassisted shot flew past Cougar keeper Corrin Cook. Less than 16 minutes later, junior forward Maureen Stormont broke through the defense and netted her team-leading fifth goal of the year to put the Bulldogs ahead.
“The second-half performance was impressive to come back from behind and grab three points,” head coach Greg Cane said. “I think we had to reach really deep to pull that one out. I was hoping that we could have taken away something to use on Sunday.”
Sunday, however, was not so kind to UMD. The Bulldogs were shutout for the first time this fall against undefeated Southwest Minnesota State, which has been establishing a lot of program firsts in its own right.
The No. 18 Mustangs are off to their best start in program history and are ranked in the Top 25 for the first time, as well. They were winless in 21 previous matches against UMD.
Alex Pantze scored a goal and assisted on another for the Mustangs to break a 0-0 deadlock in the 64th and 67th minutes, respectively. Things got worse for the Bulldogs when a turnover deep in their own territory led to a Miranda Cadena goal to make it 3-0.
UMD outshot the Mustangs 13-9 and had solid chances to get on the board, but was unable to put one past goalkeeper Brienna Dehkes. Dehkes and the Mustang defense have not allowed a goal since Sept. 13—a span that covers 389 minutes of play.
“We deserved three points for a portion of that game, defensively in the first half,” Cane said. “But that was washed out by a couple breakdowns in the second half, which they capitalized on. The Mustangs earned the win. They played better as a team and they are on a roll.”
The Bulldogs (5-2, 4-1 NSIC) will be at home this weekend as the season hits the midway point, taking on Wayne State Friday and Augustana Sunday. Augustana holds a share of the conference lead with 15 points, while UMD is a game behind with 12.
“This weekend we are at home and we get the chance, at least on paper as of today, to play another first-place team on Sunday,” Cane said. “Hopefully we get a different performance.”
BY EVAN SMEGAL email@example.com