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SDSU drops home opener to Creighton, 1-0...

Published: August 19, 2011

Creighton punched in a goal midway through the first half which proved to be enough as the Bluejays held on to beat the Jackrabbits 1-0…

South Dakota State could not get its offense going in the first half, failing to place a shot on goal.

Creighton only had three shots on goal in the first half, but made one count. The Bluejays placed a free kick into the middle of the box, which deflected off of multiple defenders, before the Creighton forward found the back of the net.

As the weather worsened and a light rain began to fall, the forwards found more opportunities as the ball began slipping past unsuspecting defenders. These opportunities did not lead to success, however.

The Jackrabbits placed seven shots on goal in the second half, many of which came off of the ten second-half corner kicks for SDSU.

Creighton’s defense was up to the task, as its goalkeeper saved all seven shots on goal and made the lone first-half goal stand up, including multiple headers off of set pieces.

Junior forward Courtney Higgins and senior Kelsey Ferguson led the Jacks with four shots each. Three of Higgins’ shots were on goal.

“This year’s game was similar to last year’s,” head coach Lang Wedemeyer said. “We did not capitalize on our opportunities.”

South Dakota State outshot the Bluejays 18-10, an eerily similar performance from last season. However, the outcome this season was not as friendly.

“The difference between this year and last year: they finished their chance,” said Wedemeyer. “We did not.”

Senior goalkeeper Kat Donovan played all 90 minutes for the Jacks, recording four saves.

Although the team did not score a goal in the home opener, the improvement from the exhibition game with Nebraska was evident.

“We definitely improved from the Nebraska game,” Wedemeyer said. “Our defending was better, both individually and collectively, and we created opportunities on offense.”

South Dakota State played Creighton tough on the defensive end, holding the Missouri Valley Conference 2010 Player of the Year at bay. The offense could not generate any steam in the first half and could not find a way paste the Bluejay goalkeeper in the second half.

“We have had problems scoring, first in the exhibition and now in the season opener,” said Wedemeyer. “That needs to change.”

The Jackrabbits will have an opportunity to change it rather quickly. South Dakota State begins a series of five straight road games in St. Paul, Minn., on Sunday, Aug. 21, for a game with Minnesota. SDSU faces the Big Ten school for the seventh time in school history, the last meeting being in 2009 (L, 4-0). The Jacks are 0-5-1 against the Golden Gophers all-time.

The Golden Gophers topped North Dakota State 2-1 (2ot) at home in an exhibition game to open the season. Minnesota traveled to College Park, Md., and squared off with Maryland on Friday, Aug. 19, in its regular season opener.

The game with South Dakota State serves as the Golden Gophers home opener of the 2011 season.

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