Lam nets game-winner with 45 seconds left vs. UND

AUSTIN HAMM Sports Editors

The South Dakota State soccer team wrapped up their home nonconference slate this past weekend, claiming 1-0 wins over Northern Iowa and North Dakota at Fishback Soccer Park in Brookings.

On Friday, conditions were soggy, but that didn’t stop either team from playing aggressively, as both squads total five shots in a scoreless first half. The Jacks brought the heat in the second half, outshooting the Panthers 11-5. Despite the increase in chances, the game was still 0-0 as regulation wound down, but sophomore Julia Lam converted with just 45 seconds left to deliver the win for the Rabbits.

“We were missing a lot of people from injury and other things, and we put a lot of players in different positions. I thought we were a little bit uncoordinated in the first half trying to figure some of that out,” SDSU Head Coach Lang Wedemeyer said. “I thought we were much better in the second half. We hit the crossbar three times before Julia netted the game-winner. It was a well-deserved win.”

For the game, Diana Potterveld and Alyssa Brazil led the Jacks with four shots apiece as SDSU totaled 16 shots, but Wedemeyer saw room for improvement in the shaken up starting lineup.

“I think it was people doing some sorting out. We had some new starters in there with some nerves, and we had some players in there in different positions,” Wedemeyer said. “But in the second half I thought we had a great desire about us to win the game.”

 Against North Dakota, the Jacks were once again the aggressor on their home field, totaling 21 shots to UND’s eight, but still found themselves in a 0-0 tie at the half again.

Midway through the second half, Potterveld scored her second goal of the season on an assist from senior Dani Patterson to put SDSU ahead for good and seal the 1-0 win, leading Wedemeyer to praise his team’s improvement from Friday to Sunday.

“It was a more complete game. We played pretty well in the first half, certainly created enough chances to get a goal or two,’” Wedemeyer said. “The relentlessness of our players in the second half to stay at it and stay at it until we got that winner was really good. I thought that we played a pretty good game, but we just have to find a way to make things easier on ourselves.”

The Jacks now sit at 4-3-1 for the season with one game left before conference play starts. After some early season struggles converting scoring opportunities, Wedemeyer’s squad seems to be hitting their stride at the right time as they look to power through the Summit League. But the improvement has been in the little things according to Wedemeyer, particularly in the team’s attitude.

“We’ve talked about some of that hunger, some of that real desire to score,” Wedemeyer said. “We’ve talked about some decision-making in the attack to create quality opportunities versus half chances. We’ve also talked about being better with our service in our runs in the box to maximize those chances. It’s not one thing, but it’s a bunch of little things and it seems to be coming together.”

The Jacks final nonconference game will be Friday, Sept. 25 against the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, Kan. 

“Kansas is going to be a pretty good team, they play a pretty good style of soccer,” Wedemeyer said. “They’ve got some pretty good players who are very dynamic on the ball, so it should be a good challenge for us.”