After a tumultuous non-conference schedule, especially away from home, the familiarity of a Summit League foe at Dacotah Field was exactly what the Bison Women’s soccer team needed. NDSU was not going to let the chance slip, and caught a fast start to down South Dakota 2-0.
It took just six minutes for the Bison to charge to the lead. Danielle Algera picked the ball up on the right flank and picked out the run of Malley O’Brien. The attacking midfielder took advantage of a miscue from the Coyote defender and went in all alone on the goalkeeper. Coyote goalkeeper Coral Suarez was helpless as O’Brien slotted home.
“We said from the get go, we have to make sure we need to get the first goal. We get an early goal really helped, it set the tone for us,” said head coach Mark Cook after the game.
A minute later, the lead was almost doubled as O’Brien looked for more. The junior crashed hard to the near post to redirect a low cross. Suarez stood firm on her post to push the ball away.
For the next quarter hour, USD set about probing the Bison’s defense. The back four of NDSU held firm, but faced a constant stream of pressure from the Coyotes.
Sammie Villwock became the pest for the Bison. She was fortunately offsides from a Bison standpoint as the rear guard action began to bend.
“We were in a little bit disarray on the ball in behind, but we figured it out and got the shutout,” said Cook.
The second attempt at least challenged Polgar. Villwock was played through and her first touch was not what was needed. The touch allowed defender Maddie Burnstein back to cover. Villwock still managed to get a shot away, but goalkeeper Monica Polgar got down quickly for the save.
NDSU regained control in the 26th minute. Roxy Roemer put an in-swinging corner right on top of the keeper Suarez, who tipped over the bar. The ensuing corner from the opposite side was hit hard and low to the near post. In the mixer of bodies, the ball took a fortuitous bounce off a Coyote defender and in to make it 2-0.
The Coyotes switched to route one and the long ball to try to get back into the match. Substitute Zoe Anderson broke through five minutes from halftime, but Polgar got down to make the save again.
USD was fortunate to not go into the break down three. Bison substitute Brooklyn Dew shook her way through the Coyote defense, but Suarez did well to keep it 2-0.
South Dakota came out of the half and started swarming the Bison goal mouth. Kellee Willer had two chances in two minutes, but we denied both times. The first came after Polgar spilled a lofted ball into the box. The ball fell nicely for Willer, but Hanna Norman backed up her keeper to clear off the line.
Sixty seconds later, Willer beat Polgar, but the ball thumped off the cross bar and behind for a goal kick.
The game slowed significantly after the hour mark, with neither team carrying much of a threat.
On the few times with a foray forward, the Bison found it down the left flank. Mallory Fenske had the best chance of the final half hour. The left back cut past a plethora of defenders and took a sharp angle shot. The angle proved too much and Suarez swept the ball away.
In the final minute, Polgar made her seventh save of the night to keep her third straight clean sheet.
“I think our back line was really organized today and we jelled really well between all our lines,” said Polgar after the game.
NDSU went on the road later in the weekend with a trip to Denver. NDSU returns back home on Friday against Oral Roberts.