After a heartbreaking 3-2 loss against St. Thomas on Friday night, the North Dakota State soccer team bounced back and dominated the second half against Western Illinois on Sunday at Dacotah Field.
The Bison defeated the Leathernecks, 4-0, with all four goals scored in the second half. Junior forward, Paige Goaley, said the win was a collective effort.
“On Sunday games, we need everyone off the bench to be ‘game-changers’,” Goaley said. “And everyone who came on the field contributed.”
The Bison had four players score in the game including Olivia Watson. The sophomore’s top-shelf goal in the 54th minute proved to be the game-winner. Watson has three game-winning goals this season.
Five minutes later, junior Kelsey Kallio, scored via a header in the 59th minute. The goal marked Kallio’s third of the season.
The Leathernecks, who remained shotless in the first half, showed tenacity in the second. The team challenged the Bison with seven shots. NDSU goalkeeper, Abby Wilkinson, remained a “brick wall” in the game; she fended off four shots on net.
Goaley deked out the Western Illinois goalkeeper for a tap-in third goal in the 73rd minute.
Loretta Wacek, a sophomore, netted the final goal of the game with 18 seconds remaining in the contest.
Watson said the second-half success was due to mid-game adjustments, after putting up 11 shots to no avail in the first half.
“At halftime, we kind of talked about how we got all of those chances,” Watson said. “And we just need to be really hungry in the box and make that extra little push to get balls in the net.”
Both Goaley and Watson sit as co-leading scorers with four goals each. The pair each scored goals in the Friday matchup against St. Thomas. A game they said was a tough defeat.
“I think that game really hit us close to home,” Watson said. “Waking up the next day, we were ready to focus on the next game and finally get a win.”
“We really wanted to defend our home turf,” Goaley added. “After we got that home loss on Friday, we were really ready to change that.”
Watson scored the first goal for the Herd in the 10th minute against the Tommies in Friday’s game.
St. Thomas,’ Jasmine Gates, rallied to score in the 24th minute. The goal tied the game at 1-1. The score remained tied for the rest of the half.
Goaley scored in the 53rd minute. The goal put NDSU back on top, but two more unanswered Tommie goals closed out the contest at 3-2.
“We played well in the first half,” said NDSU Soccer Head Coach, Mike Regan, on Friday’s game. “We didn’t do enough to win the game in the second half. It was disappointing, but you’ve got to get up and move on.”
With the season winding down, Watson, following the win on Sunday, said her team has some momentum heading into the final stretch, which consists solely of conference games.
“I think this game for sure is going to help our momentum,” Watson said. “The first couple of games didn’t go our way, but we are ready to start rolling and get into these next games. We know they matter, and we’ve got to get wins and I am confident our team is going to step up.”
Regan says his team needs to continue playing dominant soccer to continue their winning campaign.
“We are culturally a really connected team,” Regan said. “We are a good group. We just need to be more consistent on the field, if we want to win the games that we want to win.”
The Bison play their next game on Friday, Oct. 7 in Kansas City, Mo., against Summit League foe Kansas City at 7 p.m. On the following Sunday, the Herd faces Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla., at 1 p.m. Their next home match is on Sunday, October 16th against arch-rival, the University of North Dakota. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. at historic Dacotah Field. Student tickets are available at GoBison.com/Students.