Courtesy: Ilya Pinchuk (Moscow, Idaho)
|Vandals control Bison|
MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho women’s soccer knew coming in that they were facing an aggressive, direct, North Dakota State team, and they countered it with strong possession in a 2-0 victory on Sunday at Guy Wicks Field.
After a scoreless first half, Idaho (2-2-0) broke through in the 70th minute with the senior connection of Jill Flockhart to Chelsea Small to put the Vandals up 1-0. Flockhart slipped past an NDSU (1-3-0) defender and left a cross for Small, who slid it under the diving goalkeeper for the score.
The Vandals maintained the pressure and it paid off at 83:17, when sophomore Katie Baran gained the edge on the left side and whipped in a cross that found junior Breanna Wilson at the far post for a tap-in to give Idaho its 2-0 lead. The score was the first of Wilson’s career.
The two scores were the culmination of an aggressive second half that also saw a Flockhart shot bounce off the crossbar, a Baran attempt hit the post and a Wilson attempt on an open net go just wide left. In all, Idaho earned 24 shot attempts in the game, with nine on target.
“The first half was almost like we were trying to be a little too pretty in the final third,” Idaho head coach Peter Showler said. “We were holding onto the ball too long. In the second half, we were more ruthless and dynamic. Those two goals were from tireless hard work and making dynamic runs.”
On the flip side, the Vandal defense surrendered just one on-target shot in the match and four shots total. The Vandal mids put on high pressure and the back line dealt with NDSU’s long passes over the top. Junior center back Chelsie Breen said the key was defensive rotation and work all the way through the midfield and forwards.
“We were just stepping tight, passing off our marks and really communicating well with each other,” Breen said. “We were supporting each other and moving well. When we defend as a team like that, it takes a lot of pressure off the backs.”
Senior goalkeeper Liz Boyden earned her second shutout of the season and the 13th of her career, and needed just one save to do it. NDSU keeper Sierra Bonham made six saves on the day while surrendering the two scores.
Idaho also held a 7-6 edge in corner kicks, while fouls were tied a 3-3 and offsides were square a two apiece.
On a hot, hazy day where temperatures stayed in the mid- to high-80s, Showler said he was glad to see the team’s overall depth show itself. Of Idaho’s 24 shots, seven came from bench players, as well as three of Idaho’s nine on-target attempts.
“We’ve got to keep fresh legs in there, but the players who went in made an impact, and that’s the depth showing itself now,” Showler said. “The level of play didn’t drop off when we made those changes and that’s pleasing to see.”
After three home matches in a row, the Vandal women now hit the road for the next five games, starting at next weekend’s Bronco Invitational at Boise, Idaho, where they’ll face Idaho State (3-0-0) on Friday, Aug. 31, and then Montana (1-3-0) on Sunday, Sept. 2.
Idaho earned hard-fought wins against both teams last season, and Showler said to expect a similar type of game this time around.
“Both of those teams have started very well, and we know they’re always going to be a battle,” Showler said. “They’re both teams that just never give up and we have to step up to it like we did in the second half today. They were tough when we played them last year and they’ve continued to improve since then.”
Friday’s match kicks off at 2:30 p.m. (PT), while Sunday’s contest will start at 10:30 a.m. (PT).