No-loss Jacks set sights on another Summit title

Jake Weber, Sports Reporter

The SDSU women’s soccer team has completed an undefeated regular season and now turns its sights toward another Summit League championship.

The Jacks defeated NDSU and UND this previous weekend to finish their season with a record of 13-0-5 and a conference record of 7-0-2.

Now SDSU enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed, as Denver boasted a better conference record of 8-0-1 with their single tie coming against the Jackrabbits. 

SDSU will host the winner of the first-round matchup between No.3 seed Omaha and No.6 seed UND in the semifinals. The Jacks will face one of these two schools Oct. 30 at the Fishback Soccer Park.

SDSU’s regular season matchup against Omaha ended in a 3-0 win for the Jacks, a game in which three different SDSU players scored.

Omaha has an overall record of 5-8-5 and a conference record of 4-2-3.

The Mavericks were led in goals by sophomore forward Marissa Gohr, who scored three goals on the year. Their leading assister is junior defender Grace Crockett with three.

Omaha has had a bit of late-game heroics during the season. The Mavericks clinched two wins by scoring in the last 15 minutes, including a 2-1 victory over NDSU in which junior forward Sophia Green scored a 90th-minute winner that also marked her first goal of the season.

Another member of Omaha’s squad to watch out for is junior defender Jordyn West who played nearly every minute of every game this season for the Mavericks, only coming off for 26 minutes against SDSU when the two teams faced off.

SDSU’s other possible playoff opponent is the Fighting Hawks of UND. They finished with a 7-8-4 overall record and a 3-4-2 conference record.

UND faced SDSU in the second-to-last game of the season. The Jacks defeated the Fighting Hawks 3-0 in Grand Forks and had three separate goal scorers in the match.

UND was led in goals by senior forward Hannah Olson. Olson managed three goals and an assist on the year bringing her point total to seven. UND’s leading assisters were sophomore defender Julia Briggs and senior forward Bailey McNitt, who both managed to get three assists on the year.

The Fighting Hawks’ strong suit was their defense this season, as they finished with the third-fewest goals allowed in the conference. Sophomore defender Mary Gasaway led UND in minutes played. Between the posts for UND was senior goalkeeper Madi Livingston. Livingston is the joint conference leader in shutouts with seven.

Whichever team the Jacks face in their first tournament matchup, confidence is sure to be high. With their 13-0-5 overall record, SDSU topped their season-best win percentage of .816 from the previous campaign and set a new school record with a winning percentage of .861. 

“I’m so proud of our team,” Coach Brock Thompson said. “The consistency they’ve played with this season is remarkable. When you look at our best soccer to our worst soccer in an 18-game regular season schedule, the margin is pretty small. When we’ve had off times, we’ve still been pretty good.”

The Jacks had many notable season performances this year. Senior forward Maya Hansen led the Summit League in goals scored (11) and points (27). Karlee Manding also had a strong season offensively with 10 assists on the season, the second-best single-season assist tally for a Jackrabbit player.

Defensively, the Jacks finished the regular season only allowing eight goals to lead the conference. SDSU’s defense was anchored by a dual effort from goalkeepers Hailee Fischer and Jocelyn Tanner.

The two SDSU goalkeepers were in the top two in both save percentage and lowest goals per game allowed in the Summit League. In front of them was a strong defense led by defenders Rachel Preston, Kaycee Manding and Hayley Lindaman. The three defenders played the most minutes of all SDSU players this season.  

“In the postseason, sometimes there is a temptation to try and do more than what you needed to do all season long. That can get your team disjointed a little bit,” Thompson said. “So, our goal is to stay true to us and stay true to the principles that make Jackrabbit soccer what it is.”