Sometimes you need to learn lessons the hard way. Our first game against South Dakota State didn’t turn out the way we’d all anticipated. Could it be that we traveled through three different states before getting to South Dakota? Did it set us back having to drive for about four hours after we’d already had a layover on our flight out? Were we unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the 38-degree weather? The fact is, there is absolutely no excuse for getting scored on less than a minute into the match. They came out with very high pressure and caught us off balance. We immediately snapped out of it, but it proved to be too little too late.
Maryann (right) against WSU earlier this season. House of Commons Photography.
With a day of practice in-between games to unwind and blow off some steam, we came out in the North Dakota State game prepared to play. Our captains did well to get the wind at our backs, as gusts reached up to 52 mph and maintained at least 25 mph throughout the match. This proved to be a huge factor in allowing us to score three goals in the first twenty minutes. After peppering the goal with shots, we finally capitalized on our third corner kick. Jamie Coe, always with a nose for the goal, beat the NDSU keeper to the post for a short corner and put us on board ten minutes into the match. Not more than five minutes later our freshman center mid, Kassandra Riozzi, snuck behind the Bison flat back and headed in a far post cross by freshman Jordan Salisbury. Soon after, Riozzi’s in-swinger corner kick was guided directly in the goal by the wind for her second tally of the game. As the roles reversed and the Bison took the wind in the second half our 3-0 lead proved well needed. The Bison quickly put two goals in the back of the net which put our defense and resilience to the test. We dug our heels in, kept ourselves behind the ball and fought hard for the win.
As ugly as the North Dakota State win may have been, it made the 12 hours in the car and the eight hours at the airport well worth it. There were many factors that we had to overcome over the weekend and they taught some valuable lessons that we had to learn. At this level you can’t afford to take even a minute off, which is why it’s going to take everyone coming out “on” fire this weekend to win both our games in Utah. I know we’re up to the challenge.