NDSU Soccer Utilizes Possession Game to Defeat UND 2-1: A Recap

(Photo Credit: Russ Hons-FightingHawks.com)

On Sunday in East Grand Forks, North Dakota faced their long time rival NDSU. This time it meant a  lot more. This was the first Division One conference match between the two as Summit League rivals. This game was a contrast between two disparate styles of soccer. NDSU plays a possession game and generates quick chances on counters. UND plays a speed game and looks to run by their opponents. We saw both of those styles on display today.

In the end, NDSU and their style won the day. UND struck first in the second, after a scoreless first half. Katie Moller took a feed from Olivia Knox and deposited one in the back of the net. That was Moller’s tenth tally this season. That goal came 51:11 into the match. Roughly 24 minutes later NDSU was pressuring and forced UND netminder to come off her line to play the ball. She could not get to it and Holly Enderle found Hanna Norman for the equalizer.

The game would not remain tied for long as Malley O’Brien was able to  convert a feed from Holly Enderle to provide the final margin. UND had more chances in the second but was only able to convert once. Olivia Swenson finished the day with five saves, and NDSU netminder Monica Polgar finished with four.

Now UND has to get ready for a tough Summit League road trip against Omaha and Denver. UND has experience playing against teams that like to hold possession in Portland and NDSU. The next challenge will be utilizing their superb depth of speed to play the game on their terms. The result was not what they wanted today, but they picked up some things they can learn from. Look for UND to try to take today’s lessons forward as they head out on the road next weekend.

UND Soars to 3-2 OT Exhibition Win Over Manitoba:Recap and Three Thoughts

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violent Turtle Photography)

In front of 11,634 fans at a sold out Ralph Engelstad Arena, North Dakota came off a season with some disappointment. UND had a lot of chances to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament last season but were unable to do so. Tonight we got our first glimpse at the first squad tasked with the goal of bringing UND back to the NCAA tournament in this decade.

UND has a lot to build on this season. While they did not make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 seasons last year they did develop a freshman class that showed promise and looks to take the next step this season.  The Fighting Hawks came away with a 3-2 win in overtime. Rhett Gardner was able to convert on the power play to give UND the final margin. Manitoba Goalie Byron Sprigs got the loss and first star honors for the game with 52 saves on 55 shots.

Grant Mismash took the first step forward in the opening frame converting a superb on a superb pass from Colin Adams. Mismash opened the echibition scoring ledger for UND 17:53 into the first period. The Fighting Hawks peppered Manitoba in the first frame with 18. This theme of consistent peppering of Manitoba went on through the rest of the evening. In the second UND put 14 shots on net and in the final frame they put ___ shots on goal. The Fighting Hawks finished with 30 shot attempts in the first compared to a mere 6 for the Bisons of Manitoba.

In the second period, the Fighting Hawks kept pace and did a lot of work to generate numerous chances. They only converted once as Dixon Bowen buried a strong feed from freshman and Flyers prospect, Gavin Hain 3:10 into the first period. Peter Thome split time with Adam Scheel in the second. Thome finished the night with a mere three saves on three Bisons shots. UND kept up the pressure throughout the evening. Scheel did not see any shots fired in his direction during 19:56 of work.

In the third, Thomas Lenchyshyn made it a 2-1 game on a rebound with under 6 minutes left in the game. UND did still generate more chances but did not convert them. A few minutes later, on the next shot, Jonah Wasylak capitalized on a clean feed to set up a mini breakaway in to fire one past Ryan Anderson, who had taken over with about 8 min mins left in the third period. All of this was pretext for overtime where Rhett Gardner sealed the win. Now UND has six days before their home-and-home to open up against Bemidji State. Ryan Anderson was credited with the win for UND tonight.

Three Thoughts

102-18 

Despite the final score being close, this game was one-sided in terms of possession. Multiple Fighting Hawks had superb looks throughout the night. UND finished with 102 shot attempts and played offense most of the night. Forward Nick Jones noted the value of playing a game like this as an exhibition game. UND obviously wanted to convert more chances, but now they can see some things that worked on film and replicate them. That, combined with every skater that dressed besides Josh Rieger and Colin Adams getting a shot on net provide some good things going forward.

Weatherby on the Power Play

Sharks prospect Jasper Weatherby has big shoes to fill. He is wearing number 14, the same number as departed captain Austin Poganski. Like Poganski, Weatherby provides a big, physical, and strong net front presence as needed. On the power play tonight he did that repeatedly, earning an assist on the Gardner goal. Look for Weatherby to have plenty of more time on the power play in his net-front presence. He was hard to miss out there tonight as he was  the biggest skater on the ice

The Vision of JBD 

Like Weatherby, Jacob Bernard Docker has big shoes to fill taking over the number 24 for Christian Wolanin. Like his fellow Senators’ prospect, Bernard-Docker displays superb puck sense and skill in setting up plays. His vision is superb, quite impressive to observe and is already an asset for this 2018-2019 team. Look for more from him as the year goes on.

 

 

10 Questions With MVSU Soccer Star Student Athlete Laadi Issaka

(Photo Credit: MVSU Athletics)

Check out my questions with one of the top goal scorers (second at the time of this article being published with 12) in the nation, Mississippi Valley State University forward, Laadi Issaka. She is an upperclassman at MVSU hoping to lead them to the SWAC tournament. The Devilettes finish their season with six games at home as they look to make their conference tournament with Issaka leading their offense. She has averaged one goal a game so far for MVSU, an average placing her in a tie for third in the nation. Issaka is a Health, Physical Education and Recreation Major who is quite involved in the community and beyond, and is a superb student with a 4.0 GPA. Below are some questions with her answers on her whole experience at MVSU, her background in soccer, and more.

What lead you to choose Valley?

“I got to know about Valley from my friends/former teammates (Ernestina Abambila and Prita Gyasi). They told me a lot about the school and how they are willing to offer me a full scholarship to study and play. And it was always my dream to still do what I love and further my studies, so I accepted it and started the process because I was just some steps away from making my dream come to reality. Valley is more than just a school, it is a place you can call home.”

What has led to your continued offensive success during your time with the Delta Devils?

“I was always told by my mom that when I was a child and anytime I try doing something, I always put every effort that will help me become successful and I will never stop until I reach my goal. I think this still applies to me till now. I’m always determined and ready to work hard to get the end product which is a success and because I am very competitive, I like to win and always want to come out successful in everything I do. I am also passionate about everything that I love to do. And most of all the support I had ever since I came to the Valley. I also don’t let my adversity to distract me but rather I use it as an opportunity to excel.”

What inspired you to choose your major?

“Growing up I took part in a lot of sporting activities and it made me fell in love with it and by so doing, I told myself why don’t you study something that pattern sports then I decided to choose my major. My coach (Malik) back home also saw that I had the love for sports and the love for helping people so he encouraged me to follow that path.”

What has been your favorite class in Valley?

“I don’t actually have one particular favorite class. All the classes I took or I’m taking all seem interesting to me and I can’t actually choose one.“

What do you attribute your on-field success to?

“First of all, I will attribute my success to God for giving me this wonderful talent, however, as the saying goes “God helps those who help themselves” I wouldn’t say is only God but also the hard work and perseverance that I put in. Also, the power of the people around me has been a very big help too. When I talk about the” power of people” I mean, the people that are involved in my life every day and are very supportive. Again, I am self-motivated and I never cease learning from my teammates/people. Furthermore, my family, teammates, professors, friends, and coaches are all attributed to my on-field success. These people keep pushing me to do better and better every day and always tell me to accept both negative and positive criticism.“

What are your individual and team goals for the rest of the season?

“As an individual player in my team is always my goal to be better than yesterday, set examples, always be there to help my team when needed and also to always leave a place better than it was. And as a team, our goal is to be very successful at the end of the season but our ultimate goal is to win our conference championship however this doesn’t come easy, it needs a lot of hard work and I believe my team is ready to take that challenge. “

What is your dream job with your degree?

“My dream job is to be a coach/ and a teacher. I have always had the desire to help people especially in sports and I think choosing this path is the perfect fit for me.”

How has your game developed since coming to the Valley?

“My game has really improved a lot ever since I came to the Valley and most of my teammates and friends back home can testify to that. This is because finding the back of the net used to be a big problem for me but now I think that doesn’t seem to be a problem for me following the success I have had, that is becoming the top scorer in the nation  [at the Division One level] in 2016. Also, my level of competitiveness has improved drastically in the sense that, our conference seems to be the most competitive and aggressive and I have gotten the opportunity to play with big schools from other conferences.“

What is the biggest thing about life you have learned playing soccer?

“Playing soccer has taught me many important life lessons that I carry and use every day. This life lesson that I have learnt in soccer will never be forgotten or depart from me. They have made me a better person and shaped me into the person I am today and will be in the future. I am still learning new things every day from soccer and my team. However, playing soccer, in my opinion, consistently make you a better person. Furthermore, and that no matter how good and talented you are, you definitely need one or two people to help you achieve most of the things in life or to be successful i.e being a team player.  It has taught me to be confident, optimistic(giving up is not an option) most of all dedicated and committed. One thing it taught me and I learned again is to keep fighting for it no matter how tough the road might seem and never quit on a lost or failure but rather learn from it. Lastly let me not forget about these two important factors,  which is hard work and time management! These two plays a vital role in my success so far.”

What inspired the “Back to School” theme that helped you win the 2018 Career Development Award?

“It has always been my dream and passion to help the community especially young kids, who are still growing. So, the Back to School Bash was the perfect tool to use in reaching out to the community. Also, I get to tell my story to encourage and serve as a role model to them and that anytime they think of quitting, they should know someone was once in their situation but made it through. The road may seem rough today but the end result will wipe all the bitterness away.“

 

Fighting Hawks Soar Past Western Illinois 5-0 and Prepare For NDSU Sunday: A Recap and Look Ahead

(Photo Credit: Russ Hons-FightingHawks.com)

Coming into today, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks soccer team had scored 1 goal in its past two games. This team was generating multiple chances against Portland and Oral Roberts, but was only able to put away one chance on a long Brittany Muller salvo on the road against Oral Roberts to give UND their first Summit League victory.

Today against Western Illinois, UND converted multiple chances on its way to a 5-0 win and a 2-0 Summit League record. Of the 11 shots on goal for the Fighting Hawks, five found their way to the back of the net. Mimi Eiden opened the goal scoring account today in the 28th minute as she was the only Fighting Hawk able to generate a goal in the first half. Four different Fighting Hawks scored in the second half to provide the final margin of victory. Brittany Muller scored her second in two games, Olivia Knox scored her second goal of the season, Cassie Giddings deposited her fifth goal of the season, and Emma Bangert contributed her second to round out the scoring for UND.

The scoreline was not indicative of how this game could have gone, the Leathernecks had three shots on goal in the first, and a few grade-a looks that forced UND netminder Olivia Swenson to be on her game.

With this superb win, which UND Head Coach Chris Logan noted that this was the best he has seen his team play all season, now what for UND?  They take on North Dakota State University this Sunday at home at 1 PM.

To this point, this is the biggest game in UND’s season as the Bison are in the mix for a top four spot in the Summit League. The top four teams make the conference tournament. Last season, UND came close to making its conference tournament but due to having a few too many ties they came up just short of their goal. They have a chance to win another match against NDSU on their home pitch this Sunday. The Bison played UND tough last year but a superb Emma Contino free kick goal and excellent defense gave UND the win on the road.

If the Fighting Hawks can keep utilizing their depth scorers like Muller, and continue to see young stars like Cassie Giddings and Mimi Eiden emerge along side senior star striker, Katie Moller, Sunday could produce a favorable outcome for UND. Regardless, look for the sterling defense of this team and its desire to win games on the attack to be what UND uses to go far. Sunday can’t come soon enough. Look for UND to prepare for the Bison on set pieces, as Logan noted the Bison’s prowess in utilizing set pieces to generate chances and goals this year.