VERMILLION — It’s all a learning experience.

That was the takeaway from senior Taryn LaBree after the South Dakota soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to Utah State on Sunday afternoon to cap off a split of two games over the season-opening weekend.

With the good (a 2-0 victory over Idaho State on Friday) came the frustrating (Sunday) for the Coyotes.

“It doesn’t matter how we did Friday or even (Sunday), it’s all a matter of how we move forward from this,” said LaBree, a midfielder from Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“We knew we’d face adversity, so whether it’s (Sunday) or next week or in October, it’s about how we bounce back.”

Specifically to Sunday’s game, the postgame message to the Coyotes was about playing a full 90 minutes, according to head coach Michael Thomas.

In his eyes, USD started the game strong, didn’t finish the first half strong and then picked up the intensity in the final five minutes.

“When you’re playing soccer games at this level, that can come back to haunt you, and (Sunday) it did,” Thomas said.

Utah State, of the Mountain West Conference, got a goal from Imelda Williams off a free kick in the 38th minute. And although the Coyotes had a 15-4 edge in shots, they weren’t able to even the score.

South Dakota then had a series of shots in the final five minutes of the game, as the intensity picked up. If the Coyotes play that way that for 90 minutes, they wouldn’t have to close with such a pace, according to LaBree.

“If we play like that for 90 minutes, there’s no team in this conference that can beat us,” she said. “When we play our game and play hard, we’re a good team.”

It’s part of the early-season adjustments, Thomas said.

“We’re still looking at different combinations and still feeling some of the effects of having one exhibition instead of two,” he said.

Put another way, the Coyotes are still feeling things out.

“The key is to, as you learn these lessons, not to have to learn them twice,” Thomas said.

The Coyotes will hit the road later this week for a pair of games in Illinois: Friday against Loyola Chicago and Sunday against UIC.

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