Jackrabbits lose to Bison 2-1, battle for tournament berth

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerSportswriter

Quin Ryan’s late goal dashed the Jackrabbit soccer team’s hopes of winning Oct. 23 as North Dakota State held off SDSU, 2-1 at the Ellig Sports Complex in Fargo, N.D.

Candice D’Arcangeli scored in the 10th minute for the Bison when the Jacks failed to clear the ball in front of the net. NDSU continued to pepper Jackrabbit goalkeeper Elisa Stamatakis with shots and Stamatakis responded with five first-half saves. SDSU generated very little offense in the first half, being outshot by the Bison, 7-1.

“This was a big game for both teams and they came out more ready. We made a little mistake in the first half and to their credit, they pounced on it,” said SDSU head coach Lang Wedemeyer.

The Jacks played much better in the second half, getting their attack going and generating more shots. SDSU’s efforts paid off in the 74th minute when Cori Bonte was able to punch a deflection off of NDSU goalie Kalani Bertsch into the net, evening the game at 1-1.

“I’m more of a defensive player so I’m not usually up in the box but I saw no one in that area and one of their players mishit it and I was able to shoot it right in,” said Bonte of the tying goal.

The Jackrabbits felt another goal coming on but the Bison caught SDSU with their guard down again as D’Arcangeli streaked down the sideline, bouncing a pass over to Ryan, who was waiting near the left post, tapping in the game-winner. North Dakota State moves to 7-1-0 at home on the season.

“It’s a tough place to play and they do a good job pressuring you and making life difficult and we didn’t respond real well. We hope we have another shot at them in the tournament,” Wedemeyer said.

With the weather taking a much colder turn, Bonte addressed how the team will handle it and how it could potentially affect this weekend’s games in Brookings.

“The wind will be a bit of a factor and we’ll have to take that into account. As coach says though, we can’t really let anything get in our way and we just need to focus on how we’re playing as a team and make sure we execute.”

The loss to NDSU is only the third of the season for the Jackrabbits. It hurts them in the Summit League standings and hinges much of the SDSU’s postseason hopes on Friday’s game against Oral Roberts at Fishback Soccer Park. The final two spots in the conference tournament will come down to SDSU, NDSU, and Oral Roberts, with Oakland and Western Illinois already clinching berths for the championships. The Jacks also host Summit League foe Centenary on Sunday, although they are out of contention.

“We’re putting all of our emphasis and energy on the Oral Roberts game and hopefully we’ll take care of business and then focus on Centenary on Sunday,” Wedemeyer said.