Soccer falls to Kansas in nonconference finale

AUSTIN HAMM Sports Editor

The South Dakota State women’s soccer team closed their nonconference slate last Friday, falling 3-0 to the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, Kan.

“I thought Kansas was very good. It was one of the better Kansas teams we’ve played in the last few years,” said SDSU Head Coach Lang Wedemeyer. “We started a little bit jittery, a little bit tight. I don’t think we played with the confidence that we needed to at the beginning of the game. As the half wore on I thought we did a little better as we created a couple good chances to score and ended the half 0-0.”

The Rabbits’ early struggles presented the team with a challenge as they tried to pull off the road upset against the Jayhawks, but Wedemeyer didn’t think the early game jitters had anything to do with the Jacks fearing the KU squad.

“I’m not sure exactly what it was,” Wedemeyer said. “We have a very mature team. Whether it was the awe of playing Kansas or their new stadium, we just weren’t quite focused for the game and that’s got to be something we’re able to overcome moving forward.”

After surviving the first half and keeping it a tie, the Jacks fell behind early in the second half as Kansas scored just over three minutes in. The Jacks were unable to score an eveing goal, and the Jayhawks would score twice more for the final 3-0 margin. For the game, Kansas outshot SDSU 27-14.

“Second half; we had a real game plan coming out. I thought we were going to start a little better but we gave up a goal off a second chance from a corner kick and that kind of deflated our momentum right at the beginning of that half,” Wedemeyer said. “The girls continued to work hard and fight to the end, in the last 15 minutes or so we decided to go for it and get that tying goal, and that kind of backfired as we allowed two more. All in all, I think the better team won. But I think there were flashes in the things we showed, we just have to find a way to be better and rise to the occasion.”

The Jacks ended nonconference play with a record of 5-4-1. They now turn their attention to defending their Summit League crown from last season. As far as Wedemeyer is concerned, what happened in the first 10 games of the year is almost irrelevant. 

“When you start conference play, every team starts at 0-0 for a new season,” Wedemeyer said.  “What you did in the nonconference portion of the season plays some effect into the new season, but really everyone starts at 0-0-0. We recognize that everyone is going to be good. We can’t take any of the conference teams for granted and recognize that every game is really important.” 

SDSU opens Summit League play Sunday, Oct. 4 against Omaha at Fishback Soccer Park in Brookings. The Mavericks are eligible for the postseason for the first time in the school’s Division I era, having completed the NCAA-mandated transition period. 

“They’re a quality team; they beat us last year at their place,” Wedemeyer said. “They’re finally eligible for postseason play, and they’re a team that plays very similar to us. We know it’s going to be a tough game.”