Drake scored three goals in a seven-minute span, and freshman goalkeeper Kalena Litch posted her seventh shutout of the season, as the Bulldogs rolled over Southern Illinois Edwardsville 3-0 at Cownie Soccer Complex last Sunday.
It was the last non-conference match of the year for the Bulldogs, which snapped a two-game losing streak and improved their record to 8-4-3.
“It says a lot about the players we have, to lose a tough conference game on Friday night, travel through the night and come out with the energy and determination that we did,” Head Coach Lindsey Horner said.
Drake started the game pressuring the opposing defense, as it was able to generate scoring opportunities early on. Freshman Paige Dusek had her shot deflected in the 17th minute as the Bulldogs tried to open up the Cougar defensive front.
It wasn’t until the 26th minute when junior Danielle Figliola finally put Drake on the scoreboard. The goals kept on coming after that.
Dusek found sophomore Laura Moklestad, who put her shot past the goalkeeper in a one-on-one opportunity to make the game 2-0 in the 28th minute.
Moments after, it was sophomore Tara Zika who scored her first goal as a Bulldog in the 33rd minute, giving Drake a three-goal cushion that allowed them to control the pace of the game the rest of the way.
“Our girls followed the game plan, and by finishing some of our early chances it completely changed the dynamic of the game,” Horner said.
After a rather one-sided first half, the Cougars challenged the Bulldogs in the second half and generated some scoring chances. However, Litch and the rest of the defense held on tight and registered the shutout.
The Bulldogs outshot the Cougars 18-14, with Dusek leading the way with a career-high nine shots and an assist.
“Today’s shutout sets the standard even higher for our defense, especially as we go into our final conference games,” Moklestad said. “We applied all of the advice from the coaches with our motivation to win.”
The offensive explosion could not have come at a better time for Drake, which faces a pivotal match at conference rival Creighton on Thursday.
“It was really important for us to break our losing streak,” Moklestad said. “This game has given us the confidence and encouragement we need to go beat Creighton on Thursday.”
Drake will hit the road looking to halt its two-game conference losing streak, and hopes to bring its offensive rhythm when it faces the Bluejays.
“Against Creighton, we need to build on the momentum we built with our game today,” Moklestad said. “We need to continue finishing our scoring chances while maintaining our solid defense.”