Photo: File photo
Sophomore Megan Fisher scored late in the second half and sophomore goalkeeper Kalena Litch had another terrific performance as the Bulldogs earned a 1-1 double-overtime draw against Southern Utah in the Mortenson Mountain Classic championship game.
The game did not go into a penalty shootout and both teams were named co-champions. Drake is now 2-1-1 on the year.
“We were surprised, a bunch of us had expected to go into penalty kicks because it was a championship,”said junior Melanie Fielder. “We all looked at each other like ‘that’s it?’ It’s better than losing, I guess.”
Drake outshot Southern Utah 8-6 in the first half but could not find the back of the net. Both squads headed to the break with a scoreless draw.
“We had control of the game in the first half but had problems in the final third making the right decision and getting shots on frame,” head coach Lindsey Horner said.
Just 48 seconds into the second half, Missy Lazcano gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
“That is several games now that we have dug ourselves in,” Fielder said. “We aren’t always going to be that lucky.”
After that, Southern Utah took over and for the most part controlled the game in the second half.
“Southern Utah worked hard and put us under pressure, but we have to make teams do something special to score on us,” Horner said. “It was somewhat deflating to allow a soft goal so early in the second half, but we showed a lot of character to put a goal in the net. “
However, with less than five minutes remaining in the match, Fisher redirected a shot originally taken by junior Kasey Wellman to tie up the score at 1-1. Senior Danielle Figliola was credited with the assist.
“As time started to run out, a sense of urgency kicked in,” Fielder said. “We started throwing people up top. We moved up (Megan) Fisher to defensive mid and we started attacking more.”
Neither team was able to break through for a goal in the two overtime periods, giving Drake its first tie of the year.
Both teams finished with 18 shots apiece, but Litch finished with a game-high nine saves. Litch has recorded 19 saves in the last two games.
“I’m really proud of her. She comes out with huge saves when we need her,” Fielder said. “It’s nice to have that last defender to save you.”
Up next for the Bulldogs is a two-game homestand at the Cownie Soccer Complex. Tomorrow Drake will square off against South Dakota State and will then take on Western Illinois on Sunday.
“It’s nice to be home. I expect us to learn from this weekend,” Fielder said.