The MSUM Dragons women’s soccer team has started their season off 0-3. The squad is the youngest team MSUM has had since Coach Rollie Bullock started the program in 1995, and they are still finding their groove.
“We’re young. We need to learn to work together and figure out where everyone is at a certain time,” Bullock said. “Our defense, our attacking and other things we need to focus on. The bottom line is learning to play together.”
The youthful Dragons are led by juniors Erin Nyberg and Stephanie Lindo and red shirt freshman Megan Thorwick. Bullock looks for them to guide the young team.
“Erin Nyberg is someone we look to when we need the ball in the net. Megan Thorwick is in her first year of competition but has looked very good,” Bullock said.
The Dragons field several freshmen, and Bullock made note of a few that have been making an impact early on.
“Jessica Johnson and Annmarie Umland have shown some good stuff so far. They’ve had a good start and contributed well,” Bullock said.
MSUM does return experience at the goal keeper position, with three players that rotated last year. The team hopes to find their one true goal keeper to go with the rest of the season.
“Carole Braschayko, Victoria Hoffman and Ashley Leintz were all goal keepers for us last year. We’re still trying to sort out who’s getting the most playing time. That’s still up in the air, and it’s too early to tell. This year we’re going to try to get a number one goal keeper,” Bullock said.
The Dragons’ next game is 11 a.m. on Saturday against Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Head coach Ryan Milner is in his third year as head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams and couldn’t be happier with the improvement the program has made.
“I was doing a comparison over the last two years, and there’s more people and we’re faster,” Milner said. “We have a lot more depth.”
The men’s side is led by junior Jason Dowell. A talented freshmen class will join Dowell. The women’s team is led by sophomore Molly Montonye who, Milner said, is the best runner by far for the women’s side. Milner believes his veterans can help groom the younger runners and help the teams to finish well in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
“I think the men’s (team) we could maybe get second, third or fourth. If we can be a top five team in both, that’d be amazing. Numbers are the big thing and talent,” Milner said. “I hope that the kids see something special developing here, and they want to be a part of it.”
Milner made mention that Augustana was the No. 1 team in the conference for the men’s and women’s teams.
The Dragons’ next meet is at 4:45 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the St. Boni Invite in St. Bonifacious, Minn.
BY TURNER BLAUFUSS