Dragon soccer topped by Duluth in home opener

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Kylee Billings (in white) heads a ball away from UMD forward during the Dragons home opener on Sept. 22. (Photo by: Katie Adams)

By: John Miller

millerjoh@mnstate.edu

The MSUM Dragons women’s soccer team fell short in its first home game of the season, losing to the University of Minnesota-Duluth 2-1.

The Bulldogs improved to 2-1-1 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) and 5-1-1 overall. The Dragons fell to 1-2-1 in the NSIC and 1-3-2 overall.

It was a good start for the Dragons, as the team controlled the pace in the opening minutes of the game.

The Dragons struck first in the 10th minute. Sophomore Jessica Dallman gave MSUM a 1-0 lead with her first goal of the season. With an early start, MSUM’s spirits were high.

“It was definitely a fire after I scored the first goal,” Dallman said. “I hoped being up right away would bring more energy and positivity to our team.”

This positivity was short-lived as Emily Hinz of UMD scored on a pass from Laura Edgren in the 17th minute. Hinz’s first goal of the year tied the game at one, and the wave MSUM was riding disappeared.

The score remained 1-1 entering halftime.

As the second half progressed, it was clear the game had swung in favor of the Bulldogs. The entire team appeared to be on the same page, gaining possession of most of the loose balls and making defensive stops when the Dragons tried to make long passes.

“We could have been a lot more organized,” Dallman said. “We were missing our marks and weren’t winning a lot of the air-balls.”

Head coach Christie Kopietz added that she thought her team was off as a group in comparison to the prior games they’d played this season. She said the Dragons need to be sharper with their passing and make better decisions with the ball.

The Bulldogs took advantage of MSUM’s subpar play as they grabbed a lead late in the second half.

In the 76th minute, MSUM goalkeeper Corina Edgington made a diving save; however, the shot was rebounded to the Bulldogs’ Skye Finley, who knocked into the wide-open net. This served to be the game-winning goal, as UMD held its lead for the remaining 14 minutes.

“I felt like Duluth had more of the ‘want’ over the 90 minutes,” Kopietz said.

Another reason for the Dragon’s performance was getting caught up in the hype of the team’s first game on its home field, according to the coach.

“It was a really big moment for us today,” Kopietz said. “It was our first home game and we were all excited, so maybe it was a case where the moment got the better of us. But we have to turn around and refocus for our next game.”

Next, MSUM travels to St. Cloud, Minnesota, for a conference matchup against the St. Cloud State University Huskies on Sunday, Sept. 24.

The key to Sunday’s matchup is to play with the desire to be the better team on the field.

“We need to play with a lot of heart and see who wants to win,” Dallman said. “That’s basically what it is, we need to want it more than the other team.”

 

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