The South Dakota State women's soccer team used two second-half goals to beat Southern Utah, 2-0, and complete the weekend sweep of conference opponents.
SDSU pressured the entire first half, but was unable to find the back of the net.
The Jackrabbits outshot the Thunderbirds 15-1 in the first half, including a 6-1 shots on goal advantage. SDSU took five corner kicks to SUU's one. Part of the advantage may have been due to the 16 mph that was at the back of SDSU.
Early in the second half, senior Kelsey Ferguson took it upon herself to change that and change the score. Ferguson collected the ball at the top of the box, dribbed and hit a turn around shot to put the Jacks on top, 1-0.
That score would hold for 20 minutes, before junior Christa Nyblom added to the lead. Nyblom received a cross from senior Danielle Neuhalfen in front of the goal and punched the ball past the goalkeeper for a 2-0 SDSU lead.
"The wind allowed us to pin them a little bit in the first half," head coach Lang Wedemeyer said. "We created a lot of chances, but lost our composure near the end of the first half. In the second half, we regained our composure and played a little bit differently. It was a couple of people stepping up. Ferguson, and Neuhalfen and Nyblom combining to get that second goal; it is an individual effort sometimes that makes the difference."
Southern Utah put some pressure on senior goalkeeper Kat Donovan, but was unable to narrow the margin.
The Jackrabbits outshot the Thunderbirds 22-4. All four SUU shots were on goal, but were saved by Donovan. The Jacks took seven corner kicks to SUU's one.
Senior Kayla Braffet led the attack with six shots and three shots on goal. Nyblom had four shots and two shots on goal, one of which found the net.
"I am happy that we created a lot of attack, but I am not happy that we did not finish more," said Wedemeyer. "Again, that has been our Achilles Heel this year, but we are doing what we need to do to win games"
Donovan made four saves for the Jacks en route to her fourth shutout.
"You cannot underestimate the importance of starting off on a positive foot [in conference play]," Wedemeyer said. "To win both games at home is important. We talked a lot about home field advantage. We are pleased to get two wins; two shutouts."
The Jacks improve to 6-5-1 and 2-0-0 in conference play.
Southern Utah falls to 2-7-2 and 0-3-0 in conference play.
Next up for the Jacks is another weekend of conference play at Western Illinois and IUPUI. SDSU visits WIU on Friday, Oct. 7, and IUPUI on Sunday, Oct. 9. Game times are set for 3:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
The Jacks are 4-1-1 all-time against WIU and 5-2-0 against IUPUI. Last season, SDSU beat IUPUI, 2-0, and tied WIU, 1-1 (2ot).