The Jackrabbits look to regroup for strong Summit League finish

By Robert Myers Sports Editor

The SDSU soccer team fell 2-0 to Omaha on Sunday, dropping out of first place in the Summit League standings.

Omaha entered the game at 1-0-2 in Summit League play, but after the win they found themselves in fourth place and the only team not blemished by a loss.

Neither team managed to find the net during the first half of play wherein the Jacks outshot the Mavericks 5-2.

“I thought the first half lacked a bit of energy from both teams,” said head coach Lang Wedemeyer.

Omaha would break through in the second half though. Amanda Sibson broke the scoreless tie in the 57th minute with a shot from inside the box. Natalie Johnson then provided an insurance goal in the 75th minute.

Following Johnson’s goal, SDSU goalkeeper Elisa Stamatakis left the game with an injury and was replaced by sophomore Nicole Inskeep.

“She’s [Stamatakis] most likely done for her season,” Wedemeyer said. “Nikki came in and did a good job. So we’re fortunate to have her in that role. We have a lot of confidence in her, but we certainly feel sad for Elisa’s situation.”

The good news for the Jacks is that Inskeep is no stranger to guarding the net. Inskeep has four starts and six appearances this year and she started the entire year for SDSU in 2013, recording 11 shutouts, six of them coming in Summit League play.

Although it did not show up on the scoreboard, SDSU upped their intensity in the final minutes of Sunday’s game, showing some fight and threatening to score on several occasions.

“In the second half they took it to us for a little bit,” Wedemeyer said. “After we got down a couple goals we responded – we put some players in the game that came off the bench and did a great job and we kind of turned the tide of the game and had several great chances to score.”

Wedemeyer said that the weekend trips had taken their toll on his starters, but that he was pleased with how his bench performed. Sheridon Newberry was one player who came off the bench for significant minutes, despite not having played much this season. Julia Lam also returned to the game off the bench after missing several weeks due to an injury.

As the standings shape out, SDSU currently sits in second with their 3-2-1 record. Other teams will have opportunities to gain ground in the coming weeks though as several teams have one or two more games remaining than the Jacks do.

“It’s hard playing on the road in the Summit League, especially when you’ve got to play teams that are well rested after a lot of travels. It was a tough weekend for us. We didn’t respond the way I hoped we would, but we’re still in the mix and have a chance to get in the conference tournament.”

Friday the Jackrabbits will travel to face a USD team also in contention for one of the four tournament slots. The Coyotes currently sit at 1-1-2 and 8-5-2 overall, but handing the Jacks their third loss while gaining a win would reverse their situations, especially with 3-2 Denver scheduled to come calling on the Jacks for their senior day on Halloween.

“They’re playing as well as they’ve played in a long time,” Wedemeyer said about the Coyotes. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence so it’s going to be a really important game for us to come and be consistent and focused.”

As the Jacks prepare for USD, Wedemeyer said the focus this week will be working on the basics and getting everyone back on the same page.