Jacks poised and confident for conference tournament championship

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerSportswriter

With their regular season coming to a close, the SDSU Jackrabbit women’s soccer team made a serious move this weekend in the Summit League with two solid road wins.

The Jackrabbits defeated Southern Utah at altitude on Oct. 14, 4-3 and then traveled to the University of Missouri-Kansas City and won in a convincing 3-0 fashion on October 16. SDSU (9-2-4 overall, 4-1-1 Summit) is now in a tie for second place in the conference with Western Illinois.

Darci Miller and Cori Bonte each got goals to put SDSU ahead 2-0, only to see their lead vanish early in the second half. The Jacks came back with goals from Emily Quigley and Danni Healy, whose goal would end up being the game-winner after SUU added a late score, making it a 4-3 victory for SDSU.

At UMKC, the Jacks weathered a missed penalty shot to go tied 0-0 at halftime. SDSU surged out of the gates in the second half to score three goals behind the efforts of Steph Peterson, Healy, and Tory Schiltgen to gain the victory on the artificial turf.

“It was a long, hard roadtrip, getting to Southern Utah and then to Kansas City is not easy so I was very happy with how the girls handled the travel,” said SDSU head coach Lang Wedemeyer.

“Our focus lacked for the first half of the SUU game and after that we picked up our play and that really carried through the whole weekend,” said junior forward Kelsey Ferguson.

Based on conference play, Oakland, SDSU and Western Illinois are all tied with 13 points with each team accumulating four wins and a tie. However, Oakland has yet to lose in the Summit League and is in first place. If the season were to end today, Western Illinois would get the number two seed over SDSU based on a one goal advantage in goal differential.

“A loss or tie could drop us in the standings and at this point we don’t want to take any chances of not making the tournament,” said junior defender Peterson.

The Jacks have won or tied all but one game since Aug. 29 and find themselves in a fairly good position to make the four-team Summit League Championship Tournament, which will be in Brookings, Oct. 5 and 7.

“It’s important. There’s a lot of teams still in the mix to make the playoffs and we’ve got a little bit more pressure on us because we’re hosting and we’ve got to make sure we get enough wins to be on the field, hosting the conference tournament,” said Wedemeyer.

SDSU led in the Summit League Championship last year 1-0 at halftime, before IUPUI stormed out in the second half to go to the NCAA Tournament with a 4-1 victory. Needless to say, there is a very bitter taste left in the mouths of the Jackrabbits.

“Last year, it was just terrible and we know that’s never going to happen again on our home field,” said Peterson.

The Jackrabbits travel to Fargo to take on North Dakota State Saturday before meeting Oral Roberts and Centenary, Oct. 29 and 31 to end the regular season.

“All of these games need to be a win if we want to be in the tournament. Once we’re there, then we’ll take it out on Oakland and get back our revenge,” said Ferguson

The Jackrabbits note that the best is still yet to come.

“We’ve never really played a full game and we have so much more potential and since we’ve won most of our games and we haven’t even played our best, I think that is a good sign,” said Peterson.

#1.1717599:4172622111.png:1-(2).png:Kourtney Frank tussles for possession of the ball during SDSU?s 1-1 draw with Western Illinois Oct. 10:Collegian Photo by Ryan Robinson