Soccer team blazes to fast 7-1 start

Evan Patzwald, Assistant Sports Editor (He/Him)

The Jackrabbit women’s soccer team has enjoyed a hot start to the 2021 fall campaign, starting the season 7-1. In the preseason, they were picked to finish second behind Denver in the Summit League after going 12-0-5 last spring. Omaha and South Dakota rounded out the top four of the rankings.

To kick off the season, SDSU picked up wins over Augustana and Texas Rio Grande Valley before traveling to Hawaii for a week to play three games. While they were there, they swept all three of their opponents including Idaho State, Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific.

“Hawaii was a lot of fun,” coach Brock Thompson said. “I think all of our players realize that it’s a pretty magical place. It is a little stressful traveling with 40 players to Hawaii, but it was a great experience for our team to take that trip.”

The Jacks returned to the mainland and traveled to Omaha to face off against Creighton where they picked up their first loss of the season. They lost 0-3 with all three of the Blue Jay’s goals coming in the second half. 

“Creighton played quite well,” Thompson said. “It took us a while to get into the game. They were very good in the moment of transition when they won the ball, and that tested us in ways we had not been tested thus far in the season.”

Finally, SDSU returned to Fishback Soccer Park, picking up a win vs Northern Iowa last Friday. To cap off the weekend, the Jackrabbits played in the second annual GOALD Game against Morningside College.

The women’s soccer team and Sanford Children’s Cure Kids Cancer! teamed up two years ago to play the GOALD Game in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Senior Hailee Fischer brought the idea to her team in 2019 to show tribute to her cousin, Ian, who had passed away from a battle with a rare upper perivascular epithelioid cell cancer.

Fischer did not play in the game because she is still recovering from injury.

GOALD Game t-shirts were sold before the game, with all proceeds being donated to the Sanford Health Foundation. 

The Jacks won the game 6-0, scoring two goals in the first five minutes. Maya Hansen scored two of the first three goals in the game, continuing her strong start to the season. Hansen leads the team in goals and points with seven goals and 16 points on the year. 

“I think you’re starting to see as we get into the season some of the things we’re capable of in front of goal and in the final third,” Thompson said. “It’s a result of having dangerous explosive players and a lot of depth in the final third.”

The Murdzek twins also showed out for the Jacks as Avery had two goals and an assist, while Laney added two assists. Avery is the team leader in assists with five.

“They’re both able to create opportunities for themselves and others; they’re both able to set up goals and score goals,” Thompson said. “They’re really committed to becoming the best version of themselves.”

SDSU will look to continue their 27-game home winning streak with Northern Illinois coming to Brookings to play Friday at 6 p.m. They wrap up their non-conference schedule Monday Sept. 20 as they travel to Colorado to play against Air Force at 7 p.m.