The SDSU women’s soccer team netted two goals in the final half a play Friday, but they proved not enough as the SDSU defense surrendered one goal more, leading the Jacks to drop their season opener 3-2 to the Creighton Bluejays.
“We’re definitely not fit yet. We struggled at different parts of the game just from a team fitness standpoint,” said head coach Lang Wedemeyer. “Credit to Creighton that they found a way to win the game, but I think finishing is our undoing once again.”
Last year’s runner-up in the Summit League, the Jacks entered 2014 with high hopes and despite their 0-8-1 record against the Bluejays appeared to have a good opportunity to start the season 1-0, especially when junior forward Diana Potterveld rebounded her shot and drove in the first goal of the evening about 10 minutes into the second half.
The Jacks defense began to falter down the stretch though. Creighton nearly tied the game when goalkeeper Nicole Inskeep came out of her goal to grab a ball but was unable to. Only Katie McNeary backing her up on the play spared the Jacks.
SDSU continued to allow Creighton to get behind their defense following the near miss and the Bluejays ultimately capitalized, scoring once on a play similar to the one McNeary saved and also by launching a kick just over the outstretched fingertips of a leaping Inskeep.
“I thought Nikki did a very good job of reading the play and coming out,” Wedemeyer said about her aggressiveness. “She had one whiff, but otherwise I think she did a really good job at cutting out a lot of those goals.”
Two minutes later the Jacks pulled themselves back into the game when Potterveld hooked up with Shelby Raper in front of the goal to even the game at two.
Defensively, the Jacks couldn’t hold on the end though as Creighton forward Kirstyn Corder scored her second goal of the game prior to a scoreless final 17 minutes of play.
Freshmen Nicole Hatcher, Julia Lam and Jennie Schislow all made the starting lineup for the Jackrabbits. Wedemeyer also delved deep into his bench, sending seven more players onto the field, five of them being freshmen.
“It’s a good class,” Wedemeyer said of his freshmen. “They’re certainly doing well. I think the hardest part is we’ve got a lot of good players in midfield but we’re missing a lot of experience. When we graduated Darci and Caylee who played every minute of every game from that midfield, it’s left a hole to fill that we haven’t found a solution to yet.”
Wedemeyer later called midfield one of the most difficult positions to play and said that normally freshmen do not play their right away and because of those factors it will take time before the midfield positions come together for SDSU.
“Just the lack of coordination at midfield was the biggest reason [that Creighton was able to opportunities behind the SDSU defense],” Wedemeyer said.
With Sunday’s game against the University of North Dakota being postponed due to unplayable field conditions, the Jacks will have to wait until Friday, Aug. 29 to play for their first win when they travel to the University of Wisconsin for a Big Ten road trip that concludes Sunday at the University of Minnesota.