A crushing loss

Drue Aman

Drue AmanSports Editor

Agonizing might be the way to describe it.

To have a lead 54 minutes into the match only to lose it, to have an open look at the goal to take a 2-0 lead, to lose in a shootout on the last kick on your home field?

Sounds agonizing to me. That’s how SDSU felt afterward in Friday’s 5-4 loss that was 1-1 after regulation.

“When you miss a wide open goal it’s certainly something that’s gonna haunt us and that would have been the difference in the game,” said Jacks head coach Lang Wedemeyer. “But cant just pin it on that, there were opportunities in the first half as well that we didnt put away.”

That wide open look at the goal just 44 seconds into the second half by junior forward Kayla Braffet missed over the goal, keeping NDSU within distance.

“I thought we got out of the gates a little slow in the beginning and SDSU took it to us,” said Bison head coach Pete Cuadardo. “I thought we took their best shot and we started fighting back … we just have a resilient team that doesn’t quit fighting.”

Maybe this was SDSU’s best chance for an NCAA tournament berth for the second time in four years. The Jacks have six seniors, including Summit League offensive player of the year Danni Healy and Kaitlin Justice, who scored SDSU’s only goal in the semifinal match Friday.

How replaceable are players like Healy, Justice, and Tory Schiltgen that are not around next year? Can they duplicate a 11-3-5 season, or a 15-5-1 campaign two seasons ago? The expectations for a good season are imminent with a team that can be considered one of the most successful of all SDSU teams since the transition to Division-I. Just two seasons ago, the Jacks won the Summit League tournament and advanced to the NCAA College Cup, losing to Minnesota in the second round.

The future of Jacks soccer doesn’t exactly look grim. SDSU’s roster had eight juniors entering this season, and appear to have found a solid goalie in Elisa Stamatakis.

“There’s quite a bit of parity in the conference, you saw that today,” said Cuadardo, whose team won the match on Abbey Stratton’s kick, the last of the game.

Yeah, agonizing might be the best way to describe it.