SDSU draws against Leathernecks at Fishback Soccer Park

Marcus Traxler

Marcus Traxler

The SDSU women’s soccer team had a great opportunity to gain a valuable victory at home Sunday against Western Illinois and move up in the conference standings.

Instead, they squandered away that chance and still sit in a tie for third place in the Summit League after a 1-1 tie with the Leathernecks at Fishback Soccer Park.

“That’s our own fault for tying today. Western played a good game and they’re a hard team to play, but we had the opportunities to win and we didn’t take them,” said SDSU head coach Lang Wedemeyer.

SDSU capitalized on its first opportunity near the net in the fifth minute with Kayla Braffet firing a Kaitlin Justice crossing pass past WIU keeper Laura Atkinson. The goal was Braffet’s fourth of the season, tying her with Danni Healy for the team lead. The Leathernecks blocked a barrage of shots and passes in the early portion of the first half, thus hanging on to the one goal deficit.

WIU’s hard work paid dividends in the 33rd minute, when Jordan Spaciel found the the back of the goal with a left-footed bullet that landed in the right side of the net. She was assisted by Kelly Diershow and the match went to halftime tied, 1-1.

“We scored the first goal, five minutes in and then we just kind of let up. I don’t really know why, and we shouldn’t have, but we did,” said freshman goalkeeper Elisa Stamatakis.

The second half was accentuated by near misses for the Jacks, who got decent opportunities to retake the lead but didn’t come through. SDSU’s best scoring chance came in the 85th minute when Justice was able to get the ball past Atkinson. The shot hit high, clanging off the crossbar. Neither team could post another score, sending the game to overtime at 1-1, the seventh time this season that the Jackrabbits have played into an overtime session.

“I think they got the better of us in the first half. We came out unfocused and we lacked energy. And then honestly, I think we outplayed them in the second half but when you have that many shots, you’ve gotta score,” Wedemeyer said.

SDSU took seven of the eight shots in the two overtimes, but failed to fire consistent, strong shots at the net. Early in the second overtime, the Jacks strung together some nice passes, but Healy’s shot went wide.

The Jacks outshot the Leathernecks 20-13 in the match and held the advantage on corner kicks on the season, 6-2.

Stamatakis made six saves in the match for SDSU. Her record moves to 7-1-3 for the season.

“They played a really scrambling offense and tried to play over the top of our defense and it caused a few problems, but overall we handled it well,” Stamatakis said.

With just five regular season matches remaining, the schedule does ease up a little as SDSU travels to Southern Utah and UMKC for games on Thursday and Saturday this week. However, Wedemeyer knows that the Jacks must play well every game to finish strong

“We don’t want to have to rely on someone else to make the conference tournament. We’ve got to take care of things on our end.”