Another match, another win for the Bulldogs.
An early goal by junior Generve Charles propelled the Bulldogs (7-2) to a 1-0 win over Northern Colorado (2-4-1), pushing their winning streak to five games on a night that saw junior goalkeeper Kalena Litch break the all-time saves record at Drake.
“We were able to come away with the win, which is exciting. It wasn’t the prettiest in the second half,” said senior Laura Moklestad.
The Bulldogs have not had a five-game winning streak since 2008 when they were able to reel-off six consecutive victories.
Drake dominated the first half of the match, outshooting Northern Colorado 6-5. The Bulldogs were able to break through within the first ten minutes of the game.
Charles found the back of the net for her third goal of the season at the 7:52 mark. The goal was set up by freshman Rhian Pritchard and sophomore Ashlie Stokes.
But perhaps the most memorable moment of the match came at the 33:36 mark when Litch recorded her second save of the game to surpass Jenny Schroeder (2006-2008) as Drake’s all-time career saves leader with 259. Litch finished with four saves and recorded her third shutout of the year.
“I knew it would come at some point in the season, but now that it’s come, it’s not going to make a huge difference in how I play the rest of the season,” Litch said.
Moklestad talked about the potential Litch showed in her first game as a freshman starting goalkeeper.
“I think we were all very excited when she played her first game. We were all very impressed with her skill level,” Moklestad said. “We didn’t know she would break the saves record, but we wouldn’t have doubted that. She’s done really well for us.”
In the second half, Northern Colorado was able to control the pace and came close to finding the tying goal.
“It was a tale of two halves. Northern Colorado has a strong attack,” Litch said. “Number 13 (Juliana Grover) out wide, we knew we had to defend her well, which I think we accomplished.”
Moklestad commented on the Bears’ ability to control possession in the second half.
“They were just able to keep the ball in the second half and play around us,” Moklestad said. “They stepped it up in the second half, had a lot more determination winning 50-50 balls.”
The Bears outshout the Bulldogs 8-1 in the second half but Drake was able to hold on to record its seventh win of the year.
Stokes and Moklestad led the Bulldogs with two shots apiece.
With the non-conference schedule winding down, the Bulldogs are eager to get conference play underway. Drake’s last non-conference game will be Wednesday when the Bulldogs take on the University of Missouri-Kansas City at 7 p.m. at the Cownie Soccer Complex.
“We said at the beginning of the season that we wanted to make it to the final four of the conference tournament,” Litch said. “The way we’ve been playing has been setting us up to accomplish that.”
The Bulldogs will open conference play on Saturday against Missouri State. The match will mark the end of a seven-game home stand for the Bulldogs. Drake hopes the momentum they have created in its five-game winning streak will carry over to conference play.
“I think it really builds up our confidence. Now we know our potential. We know what we need to do each game to continue with our success,” Moklestad said. “Going forward we just want to continue to get better. We like to finish in the top three. We have to keep progressing and learning as a team and we’ll be able to do well.”
So far, the Bulldogs’ season is progressing just fine.
The Bulldogs took on Eastern Illinois on Sunday. Details on that match can be found in the next issue of The Times-Delphic.