St. Peter, Minn. - The Gustavus women’s soccer team dropped its first Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) match 2-0 to St. Olaf Wednesday at the Gustie Soccer Field. Two first half defensive plays that resulted in own goals proved to be the difference, as the Gusties move to 2-3-0 (0-1-0 MIAC) on the season. With the win, St. Olaf moves to 3-2-0 (1-0-0 MIAC) on the year.
“The girls fought hard,” said head coach Laura Burnett-Kurie. “It was a battle. We played well, and we worked on a lot of the things we wanted to improve on.”
The two squads traded offensive opportunities in the first half, but the ball bounced St. Olaf’s way twice within a minute to allow the Oles a 2-0 halftime lead. The first goal was scored when a Gustie defender attempted to dispose of a dangerous corner kick from Ole midfielder Kajsa Brindley. An unlucky bounce saw the ball into the back of the net and the Gusties trailed 1-0. The second goal came on another own goal. This time, a header that popped up and over the outstretched fingertips of goalkeeper Jessica Richert (Sr., Freeburg, Ill.) to push the deficit to 2-0.
The second half was a deadlock between the two squads. Both teams had their chances, as each team recorded an identical five shots after the intermission.
“Even when we went down 2-0, we came out strong in the second half. We believed that we could still come back and we played it out to the end,” Burnett-Kurie mentioned of her team’s performance in the final 45 minutes.
Richert tallied eight saves on the evening after not being tested once in her last two appearances. With the eight saves today, the senior keeper moves into ninth on the Gustavus all-time saves list. Senior forward Maggie Lane (Saginaw, Minn.) recorded two shots on goal to lead the Gusties offensively.
It will not get any easier for Gustavus on Saturday, as the Gusties will host Concordia in St. Peter. However, coach Burnett-Kurie feels her team is up for the challenge.
“Saturday is going to be tough, but I think we will walk away from this loss and know that we can battle with anybody. In the MIAC, every game brings a high level of competition. Anyone can win on any given night.”
Saturday’s match against the Cobbers is set to kick off at 2:30 p.m. at the Gustie Soccer Field.