Soccer wraps up regular season

Tristen Hanna, Sports Reporter

The Jackrabbit soccer team will head to Grand Forks this weekend to take on North Dakota Friday and North Dakota State Sunday for their final two regular-season games.

This season has been looking really impressive for the undefeated Jackrabbits, as they currently have an 11-0-5 record and are in second place in the Summit League standings with a 5-0-2 conference record.

“This time of the year it just feels like its playoff games,” coach Brock Thompson said. “Because everybody’s vying for position for a spot in the (Summit League) tournament or where at in the tournament.”

UND is 6-7-4 overall this season and is 2-3-2 in the Summit League. They currently sit seventh in the conference standings and are in a battle with NDSU for the sixth and final spot in the conference tournament.

The Fighting Hawks faced the Bison in their last matchup last Sunday. The Fighting Hawks could not hold on for the win against NDSU, who scored a goal less than 15 minutes into the match and held on for a 2-0 win.

Hannah Olsen is UND’s leading scorer with three goals, while Irene Jirasevijinda and Sarah McCracken each have two goals. Madi Livingston is their goalkeeper, who has 81 saves and 19 goals allowed this season.

The Jackrabbits will then head to Fargo for their matchup with the Bison after their matchup against the Fighting Hawks this weekend.

The Bison are also fighting to keep their season alive. They are currently in sixth place in the conference standings. They are 7-7-3 overall this season and are 3-4 in the Summit League. NDSU has won three of its last four matches, including the 2-0 shutout of UND to keep them in contention for the conference tournament.

Paige Goaley is NDSU’s leading scorer this season with six goals. She is also tied for second on the team in assists with three. Other leading goal scorers for the Bison are Olivia Watson with four and Kelsey Kallio, Olivia Lovick and Loretta Wacek with three each.

Abby Wilkinson has started 11 games this season for the Bison and has recorded 54 saves. Sofia Howe and Payton Mulberry have each started three games this season, with Howe recording six saves and Mulberry 15.

“This weekend, honestly we just need to keep playing how we’ve been playing,” sophomore midfielder Laney Murdzek said. “I think we’ve been playing really well together.”

The Jacks had two impressive wins last weekend that should help them get ready for this weekend’s matchups.  They defeated Oral Roberts and Kansas City last week at Fishback Soccer Park.

In the matchup against the Golden Eagles, the lone goal of the match was scored when Maya Hansen forced a foul in the 77th minute, giving the Jacks a free kick from 40 yards away. Kaycee Manding served up a pass that Oral Roberts tried to defend. Instead, the ball landed in front of Laney Murdzek, who sent a shot over the head of Golden Eagles goalkeeper Louisa Ramsauer, to put the Jacks up 1-0.

The Jacks held on to that 1-0 lead to win the match and increase their home record to 6-0-4 this season.

“Laney was in the right spot,” Thompson said. “I think they’re a very good team and it was a good game.” 

As for the game against Kansas City, the Jackrabbits wanted a win on senior day in their final home game of the season. They had controlled the ball for over 70% of the first 45 minutes.  Hansen scored in the 30th minute to help her team go up 1-0. That was Hansen’s team-leading ninth goal of the season.

Murdezk followed up with a goal of her own, shooting a shot from the top of the box to score her second goal in back-to-back games. For her performance last weekend, Murdzek was named Summit League Offensive Peak Performer of the Week.

Madison Page from Kansas City blew past one of the Jackrabbit defenders in the 85th minute to cut the lead to 2-1. But the Jackrabbits held on to that 2-1 lead to win their fifth consecutive game.

Following their two games with UND and NDSU, the Jackrabbits will get ready for the Summit League tournament as they go for their second consecutive conference tournament title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.