Soccer claims second straight Summit League title


Diana Potterveld battles an Oral Roberts defender during their Summit League semifinal. The Jacks won the match by a score of 3-1. 

AUSTIN HAMM Sports Editor

Team will travel to Minnesota for first round of NCAA tournament on Friday

The South Dakota State soccer team didn’t feel like an underdog in the Summit League Tournament, despite coming in as the No. 3 seed, and it showed as they defeated Oral Roberts and North Dakota State in succession to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row and set up a matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday in Minneapolis.

“We were a missed penalty kick against North Dakota State and ten minutes where we were up 2-1 over Oral Roberts from being the No. 1 seed,” SDSU Head Coach Lang Wedemeyer said. “That kind of showed the team that there is a fine line between winning and how you finish and that we were still very capable of winning the tournament.”

In the semifinals against ORU, freshman Brittany Jensen tallied two goals as the Jacks defended their home field against the Golden Eagles and avenged their loss in Tulsa from earlier in the season.

NDSU advanced to the final by way of a 4-3 double overtime win over the University of South Dakota. The Bison and Jacks had played to a 0-0 draw in their regular season meeting, but the second meeting looked much different, as SDSU cruised to a 3-0 win to lock up the Summit League Tournament title for the second year in a row. Diana Potterveld scored twice in the win, once on a penalty kick and again tapping the ball in off a deflection.

In Minnesota, the Jacks take on an at-large team from the Big Ten. Though the power conference opponent may boast some skilled athletes, Wedemeyer feels the Jacks are up to the challenge and have played a schedule that has prepared them for this type of opponent.

“Kansas and Marquette are fairly comparable opponents,” Wedemeyer said. “Minnesota will probably be the most athletic team we’ve played this year. The Big Ten is a really tough, physical conference where they rely on their athleticism, so we’ll have to take care of that… We feel this is a winnable game.”

SDSU fell 0-3 at Kansas and played Marquette to a 1-1 draw.  

In 2014, SDSU fell to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The idea is that experience will help this year’s upperclassmen lead their team into Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium and upset the Gophers, who were ranked as highly as No. 11 nationally this year.  

“Anytime that you’ve been able to play in a big tournament like this, the experience will help,” Wedemeyer said. “They won’t be quite as nervous, they won’t be quite as awestruck. Coming into it they’ll be a little more focused. Last year we played exceptionally well, particularly in the second half. First half we were a little bit of a deer in the headlights, so I think this year that experience will play well for us.”

Though he acknowledges making the tournament is an accomplishment, Wedemeyer knows that making a push in the tournament is the next step for the program.

“One of our goals every year is not only to win the Summit League and get to the NCAA tournament, but to advance…” Wedemeyer said, “that hasn’t happened since 2008. There’s an element of go and try to make something happen this time around.”