VERMILLION – The University of South Dakota’s soccer program hosted a Power 5 Conference opponent Sunday as the Big12’s Iowa State made the trip to take on the Coyotes.
USD (5-1-2) prevailed with a 1-0 win over the Cyclones (3-5) at First Bank and Trust Soccer Complex in Vermillion.
“We came out and we did a job,” USD head coach Michael Thomas said. “Iowa State has a lot of good soccer players. We talked about a lot of things in this program and we talked about wanting to have the moment, and I thought we had so many people that had big moments in the game today.”
Senior Alexis Mitchell put the Coyotes in front 25 minutes in when she found the back of the net off a Jordan Centineo pass and the Coyotes led 1-0. The lone goal for the Coyotes proved to be the difference Sunday afternoon.
“We know that attacking wide opens up the middle, and so I rely on Jordan when she gets out wide and know that she can put in a good ball,” Mitchell said. “It’s all about timing and having to get that timing right.
The Coyotes survived a fury of attacks from the Cyclones in the first half, including an attack where an Iowa State player collided with Emma Harkleroad, the Coyote goalkeeper. Harkleroad finished the half, but was replaced by Caroline Lewis in the second half.
“Caroline works as hard as anybody, and its great for somebody like Caroline to step in and show the world how good she is,” Thomas said.
The Coyote defense pitched its second straight shutout with the 1-0 win. The Coyotes took down Northern Iowa last Sunday in a 1-0 Senior Day victory for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes and Cyclones also battled 90 degree heat and consistent 20-plus mile per hour winds on Sunday. Mitchell’s goal came in the first half, when the Coyotes were attacking into the wind.
“The wind was a huge factor both ways, with it and going against it,” Mitchell said. “Coach warned us about it about it being a huge factor.”
The Coyotes are now off until October, as Sunday’s match was the final non-conference match for USD. The Coyotes face St. Thomas to open Summit League play Oct. 1.
“The conference season is always difficult,” Thomas said. “It’s one of the most difficult conference tournaments to get into in the nation with only four teams getting in. We just want to keep refining who we are and keep working on doing South Dakota things to try to keep the results going in a positive manner.”
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