Women’s soccer breaks even in first two games of the NSIC 2021 season


Mohammed Islam

The Winona State University women’s soccer team fell to the University of Sioux Falls, 2-0 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) opener for both teams, on Friday, Sept. 17 at Altra Credit Federal Union Stadium. The warrior came back the next game on Sunday against Southwest Minnesota State University, securing a win by 2-1 on the family weekend game.

Teresa Anderson

During Family Weekend, Winona State University played two games on Friday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 19 against University of Sioux Falls (USF) and Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU), respectively, for the first two games in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.   Winona State lost to USF, 2-0, and won against SMSU, 2-1.
During the first game of the weekend, the Warriors heavily played on their opponent’s side nearly the entire game, outshooting the Cougars 18-10, but were unable to capitalize on their efforts.
At the beginning of the game, Winona State kicked the ball back to the defensive line, and the bench players yelled, “Charge!” From this moment, the Warriors immediately found themselves in Cougar territory, utilizing passes from Missy Greco, fifth-year midfielder and forward, up to Jaida Weige, third-year forward, who brought the ball up to attempt shots on goal.
In the ninth minute, Weige stole the ball from a defender, ultimately leading to the first corner kick of the game. Weige takes the shot. Within the goalie’s box, Winona State’s forwards kick the ball back and forth with the opponent’s defense, like a life-size pinball machine, until the ball is kicked out of bounds.
Two minutes later, Weige charged back in with another shot on goal towards the corner but caught by USF goalie. Another minute passed, and Camryn Cadiz, fifth-year midfielder, beautifully passed the ball up to Weige, who created enough space for a long shot towards the corner but again caught by the goalie.
In the 14th minute, Weige sneaks behind the defense, the Cougar goalie not in the goal after missing a block, and the crowd is on their feet cheering for Weige to make the play. Weige confidently kicks the ball, but it’s overshot to the side.
Consistently throughout the first half, the Warriors carried the ball up, intelligently passing to each other until the ball was again at the feet of the forwards. The midfielders impressively used through passes to allow the forwards to break through the defense. Unfortunately, the attempts never saw the back of the net.
After halftime in the 51st minute, USF’s Aundria Vargas arcs her shot above Yanel Ortiz, fourth-year goalkeeper, and the ball lands in the middle of the net. However, the score did not seemingly phase Winona State, as they persistently took shots on goal thereafter.
Ashley Hewitt, third-year forward, headed the ball after a corner kick in the 60th minute, which was dangerously close to scoring.
“On film I could see how close it was and I could remember how badly I wanted to score,” Hewitt said. “I could taste that goal but unfortunately it didn’t go in that time.”
Hewitt and her team watch the games back afterwards, helping to see their faults and strengths during the game.
“After reviewing film, I see that next time I head it off of a cross I should direct the ball to go in the corner of the net back toward the way that it came from because the goalie won’t be set, and it is more likely to go in,” Hewitt said.
With an offensive mentality after the first goal by USF, Winona State pushed their lines forward, including defense. In the 65th minute, a Cougar forward nutmegs a Warrior defender, creating another break away play to lead to the last goal of the game.
Winona State kicked 18 shots and 12 shots on goal, five saves, and eight corners. USF never had a corner kick.
Coach Matthew Kellogg told his players before the game to “go out and just have fun”, but also “have no fear about making mistakes”.
“Typically, it’s the attacking side that you tend to get fearful of,” Coach Kellogg said.
This game is most notable for Winona State’s great passes between players. Space was not wasted.
“Our team has been working on playing simple and doing more ‘up, back, and through’s’,” Hewitt said. “We have been improving on utilizing our midfield and playing back to them so that they can play the longer ball to the other forward making the second run. It is so important to play fast and simple.”
Coach Kellogg said, “We want to play in front of them to open up the space behind.”
Although Winona State lost to USF, the Warriors beat SMSU. In the first minute of the game, SMSU scored, but were completely shut out from scoring again for the rest of the game.
The Warriors answered their opponent’s goal with two of their own in the 10th minute by Riley Harmon, fourth-year forward and midfielder, and assist from Ellie Wardell, third-year forward, and in the 42nd minute by Reanne Weil, second-year forward, and assist from Abigail Williams, first-year midfielder.
With two games from this weekend, the Warriors will focus on prepping for their next game.
“Our team focuses a lot on recovery and making sure to take care of our bodies,” Hewitt said. “Especially after hard practices or workouts, we are sure to stretch, ice, rest, and hydrate.”
Winona State sits at 1-1 for their conference, and the team will play their next game at home against St. Cloud State University at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24.