Offense goes missing for the Jackrabbits at Kansas Invitational

Zach Anderson

Zach Anderson

Defense was the name of the game, as the Jackrabbit women’s soccer team battled Missouri State to a 0-0 tie in the first game of the Kansas Tournament on Sept. 18 in Lawrence, Kan. Jacks goalkeeper Dani Pappas got the first shutout of her career in the tie, making five saves for the match.

“Missouri State is a good team that was well-organized and had a good game plan,” head coach Lang Wedemeyer said. “I felt that we played well enough to win but were lacking a bit in our attack to get that much-needed goal. Although a tie is better than a loss, we felt we let this one slip away.”

SDSU’s shot advantage was 17-12.

On Sept. 20, Kansas defeated the Jackrabbits 4-0 on the second day of the Kansas Tournament. The No. 22 Jayhawks had no trouble getting an early lead, as Rachel Morris found the back of the net in the very first minute of play.

“Giving up a goal as early as we did was certainly a heart-breaker,” Wedemeyer said. “It was a very avoidable mistake, but that is what happens when you play good teams like Kansas. … They make you pay for those lapses in concentration. It certainly was not the way we wanted to start, and I just hope that the lesson sinks in for our players for the future.”

Three more goals sank the Jackrabbits’ hope of a comeback, including another score by Morris for the fourth and final goal at the 69:17 mark. Monica Dolinsky and Estelle Johnson added goals in the 20th minute and 56th minute respectively for Kansas. SDSU went 0-1-1 at the tournament, lowering their record to 2-4-2 on the season, while the nationally ranked Jayhawks went to 7-1-1 on the year.

Emily Quigley led the Jacks with three shots. SDSU was outshot 22-9 and 9-3 in shots on-goal. SDSU’s loss was its second against a ranked team this season.

Wedemeyer said the team needs to stop gifting goals for their opponents and keep their mentality to battle for the entire game.

“We have shown that we can play hard at times but still tend to lose our focus at key moments in big games,” Wedemeyer said. “So, beyond the X’s and O’s, this is what we need the most to win a championship.”

A bright spot for the Jacks in the tournament was when Christa Nyblom and Kaitlin Justice were named to the Kansas Invitational All-Tournament team.

“They both had solid weekends,” Wedemeyer said. “Although we did not score any goals, KJ and Christa were both good at making our transition from defense to attack dangerous at times.”

“To be selected onto an all-tournament team that included two nationally ranked opponents is rewarding,” Wedemeyer said.

The Jacks will play Mary (N.D.) on Sept. 23 at Fishback Soccer Park.

“The University of Mary is another very well-coached team,” Wedemeyer said.

“They are very tough defensively and don’t give up goals easily. We’ll have to approach them with a high level of focus and determination to get a good result.”