Freshman Generve Charles scored with 20 minutes left in the game and freshman goalkeeper Kalena Litch posted her sixth shutout of the season, as Drake held on to oust South Dakota State, 1-0.
This was the last non-conference match of the season for the Bulldogs, who improved their overall record to 7-2-3. Drake has been especially impressive at home, where it remains undefeated with four wins and one draw in five games.
Drake dominated the Coyotes, but its lack of clarity up-front made the match a lot closer than it should have been.
“For portions of the game it was one-way traffic, but we let South Dakota stay in the game by not capitalizing on our chances,” Head Coach Lindsey Horner said.
The Bulldogs controlled the ball and had several opportunities to open up the score in the first half, but failed to do so. Drake took its offensive momentum into the second half, as it kept bombarding the South Dakota defensive front. The Bulldogs held a 22-7 shot advantage against the Coyotes in the game.
“We tried to utilize the width of the field by trying to keep our outside midfielders as wide as possible,” said sophomore Laura Moklestad. “Using them gave us some good scoring opportunities.”
It wasn’t until the 69th minute that Drake was able to finally put the ball in the net.
Freshman Brittany Schuling found Charles, who drove a low shot into the left corner to give Drake all the scoring it would need in this one.
“We definitely outplayed South Dakota,” Moklestad said. “We were able to beat their players one-on-one throughout the game and had many dangerous attacks.”
Despite Drake dominating in almost every statistic, this was a game where the Bulldogs should have definitely struck way earlier in the match.
“We talked after the game about our mentality; to stay hungry, improve each outing, and stay focused for 90 minutes,” Horner said. “We don’t want to do just enough to beat an opponent; we want to push ourselves to reach our potential and ultimately achieve our goals for the season.”
Still, the way the defense has been playing lately should have the Bulldogs feeling very optimistic about their chances in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“Our defense has done a great job this year,” Moklestad said. “Our six shutouts sets a standard for our defense to never let down in the back and that carries forward to the attack.”
The Bulldogs are already 2-0 in the Valley and played defending MVC Champion Illinois State University on Sunday. Details from that game will be in Thursday’s issue of the Times-Delphic. Drake should be able to use its non-conference season preparation to have a great run in the MVC this year.
“To have a successful conference season, we need to apply everything we’ve learned in our non-conference games,” Moklestad said. “I think it’s vital that we never lose the mindset that we are going to win and that we are going to do everything we can for our teammates.”
Photo: File Photo