O’Brien Lifts Bison to Overtime Win

With the team’s struggles on the road, this weekend presented a rare opportunity for the NDSU women’s soccer team.

“We know this is a six-point weekend for us; we need to hold court at home,” NDSU head coach Mark Cook said.

Six minutes into Friday night’s game against Oral Roberts, the three points on offer were already in jeopardy. It took 14 minutes of extra time, but the Bison did come away with three with a 2-1 win.

ORU took the lead in stunning fashion after just six minutes. Amogelang Motau uncorked a 35-yard shot that caught Bison goalkeeper Monica Polgar a bit off guard. The sophomore was unable to push the looping shot over the bar, and it tucked in just inside the net.

Any worry from the Bison was erased four minutes later.  A free kick 60 yards from goal proved to be what the Bison needed. A lofted ball in the box landed gently at the feet of Holly Enderle. The striker was back-to-goal and laid it off to the running Malley O’Brien, who coolly slotted it home.

“I was really proud,” Cook said. “We bounced right back and didn’t let it get to us.”

By 10 minutes, the game was all knotted up, and it would stay that way for the rest of the 90 minutes.

Enderle had an opportunity to give the Bison the lead after 16 minutes. Malana Vachon pressured the Golden Eagles’ backline into a turnover and found Enderle in the center. Enderle managed to turn her defender the wrong way, but the shot was straight at Golden Eagle goalkeeper Ryliegh Bohnenstiehl.

NDSU suffered a slight scare in the middle of the half. Polgar came off her line and collided with a Golden Eagle attacker when claiming the ball. The sophomore laid on the turf for a minute, but was able to get up and stay in the game.

She appeared to have shaken off the hit two minutes later when she cleanly caught Brianna McGowan’s effort.

Polgar was helpless a minute later as a blocked shot fell to the feet of Sierra Beal. Fortunately, the ORU striker slashed the ball over the bar.

The Bison got off to a flyer in the second half with a shot across the bow of ORU. Danielle Algera cruised down the right flank and put in a good service. However, Bohnenstiehl smothered the cross before Enderle could get on the end of it.

The Golden Eagles then took their turn. Motau played Amanda Dial into space with a clever back heel, but Dial’s shot was straight at Polgar.

When the time came, Polgar was equal to her biggest test of the night. Caitlyn Hanslovan hit a first-time curler destined to the top far corner. Polgar stretched to push the shot away and preserve the tie.

The match always seemed to be heading to extra time. When the game reached that point, the Bison were on the front foot.

“We talked about making sure you are sacrificing for the team because this is overtime,” Cook said.

Algera had the first clear-cut chance after brilliantly controlling a big diagonal ball with her chest at the edge of the box. The shot did not do the move justice, as the freshman sliced under the ball, leading to nothing.

A minute later, a goalmouth scramble somehow did not end with a Bison win. Algera’s cross made its way to the near post. O’Brien and Enderle were both in the area, but neither could get the ball over the line past a Golden Eagle defender.

In the first minute of the second extra time period, Roxy Roemer almost claimed a winner. Roemer’s cannon careened off the underside of the crossbar, falling on the wrong side of the goal line before being cleared.

The match was over three minutes later, with O’Brien claiming the winner. Algera’s low cross came to the junior’s feet, and O’Brien put home her third goal in three games.

The Bison took on Omaha Sunday afternoon. NDSU returns to action Friday at Western Illinois

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