A late first-half goal was all the scoring North Dakota State needed as the Bulldogs struggled to get shots on frame and suffered their fourth defeat of the season.
Drake is now 2-4-4 on the year. The Bulldogs are in the middle of a seven game winless streak. The last eight games for Drake have been decided by a goal or less.
“This game has summarized our season to date,” head coach Lindsey Horner said in a Drake athletics press release. “We were missing an edge and sense of urgency until we went down a goal, a sense of responsibility to make something happen in our attacking third, and communication among the players on the field.”
The match started out with both teams alternating possession. North Dakota State progressively began taking control of the game as they continued to put more shots on goal than the Bulldogs.
Late in the first half, North Dakota State was able to break through at the 40:06 mark thanks to a Holly Christian goal.
Drake went into the break down a goal and having been outshot 11-7 in the first half.
The Bulldogs pressed forward the second half, trying to find the equalizer that would give them a valuable tie on the road against a good squad.
But the scoring woes continued for the Bulldogs as they failed to open up the Bison defense. Drake has scored nine goals in 10 official matches this season.
“Although we came up short today, we were hard working, were far more organized in the midfield and better at defending the counter,” Horner said. “NDSU is playing with a lot of confidence, and they are dangerous with their height and size on free kicks and corner kicks, which ultimately was the difference in the game.”
Drake was outshot 6-5 in the second half and 17-12 for the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Kalena Litch recorded six saves for Drake.
Sophomore Brittany Schuling led the offense with four shots on goal. Freshman Ashlie Stokes and sophomore Gina Zurbey recorded two shots on goal apiece.
Drake has suffered some injuries in the start of the season, particularly to some of their most experienced players, such as seniors Melanie Fielder and Lindsey Johnston. However, Horner believes this has given other players the opportunity to contribute.
“While we are missing several of our more competitive players due to injury, this road swing has been a great opportunity for players to step up and fill roles and deal with the adversity of traveling this much in a short period of time,” Horner said.
Sophomore Laura Moklestad believes the five-game road swing has taken a toll on the squad.
“I think all the traveling has been wearing us down, but in our conference opener we need to find the strength to play with all our strength the whole game,” Moklestad said.
The Bulldogs opened up their Missouri Valley Conference season opener yesterday at Illinois State. Check out The Times-Delphic website for details on the game.
This Friday, Drake will play its first game at Cownie Soccer Complex in over four weeks. It will be the team’s first conference home game as it takes on Indiana State at 7 p.m.
“Each player will be key in our conference play,” Moklestad said. “Everyone on the field needs to set the tone by working hard for each other and encouraging each other to push themselves each game. We can only accomplish our goals together.”
CATCH THEM FRIDAY
FRIDAY, SEPT. 30
vs Indiana State
Cownie Soccer Complex, 7 p.m.