The North Dakota State Bison Women’s soccer team bounced back from a season opening 1-0 loss against Drake last Friday with a 2-0 win over the University of Northern Iowa Panthers. Goals from Amy Yang and Autumn Muckenhirn propelled the Bison.
The opening half began in slow fashion. Chances were few as the teams settled down. The first real chance came from the Panthers, as forward Brynell Yount showed a turn of speed to get in behind the Bison defense. Her first touch was not good enough as the ball trickled out behind the goal.
In the 14th minute, the Bison got a good chance through the play of sophomore Britney Monteon. Given the ball in space on the left flank, Monteon cut inside onto her right foot and blasted a shot at UNI goalkeeper Whitney Blunt, who initially spilled the rebound but recovered in time with Bison attackers driving down toward the loose ball.
The break through came in the 33rd minute, as the senior midfield duo of Amy Yang and Lauren Miller linked up. Miller received the ball at the halfway line before picking out Yang’s run behind the Panther defensive line. Yang collected the pass before looping the ball over Blunt and dropping inside the far post.
The lead was double nine minutes later, this time from a set piece. Freshman Mariah Haberle drove a corner kick to the far post, right onto the head of senior Autumn Muckenhirn, who put the ball past the keeper and a pair of defenders on the goal line.
It was Muckenhirn’s first goal of her career as well as Haberle’s first assist of her career.
In the second half, the Bison continued to control the game, but the Panthers launched counterattacks, with Bison goalkeeper Monica Polgar getting called into action. The freshman was equal to the task, first stopping Sydney Hayden attempt just 30 seconds into the second half.
Polgar would be called into action one more time before an attack on the other end saw Haberle weave through defenders before the ball reached Yang, who fired straight at Blunt in search of her second goal of the day.
In control and looking to close out the game, the Bison continually won corner kicks, six in total, but none were as successful as the Muckenhirn goal in the first. A Haberle delivery in the 82nd minute dropped well for the Bison, but some last ditch defending by the Panthers cleared the threat.
With only four minutes remaining, the Panthers had a chance to set up a grandstand finish. Hannah Mcdevitt found herself alone eight yards from goal, but Polgar stood her ground, punching the shot over the bar.
After the game, head coach Mark Cook praised the work of his team, “Today we just showed we had a lot of heart. We made sure to compete for every little battle and made sure to compete from the opening whistle to the final whistle.”
Muckenhirn said the goal felt great, and said that for her “it is all about taking advantage of every minute.” She also said that she is looking forward to an upcoming road trip out West and that the team plans to “take it one game at a time.”
The win brings the Bison record to 1-1-0, while the Panthers drop to 0-1-1 this season. Their first win under former Bison associate head coach Chris Logan. The Bison now travel out to California for a pair of games against Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside. The Bison lost last season’s meeting with UC Riverside 1-0 at home.