Momentum vital as Mavs’ soccer season rolls on

The Minnesota State Mavericks soccer team is gearing up and getting ready to head into the second half of the regular season. At this point in the season, the Mavericks are sitting on a 5-3-1 record and riding a wave of momentum.

The first quarter of the season didn’t quite get off to the start that the team would have hoped for. The Mavericks placed a 1-2-1 record over the course of their first four games, but they’ve won four out of their last five games.

The girls are going to need all the momentum they can get as they prepare for this weekend’s games, as they will be playing two very tough conference match-ups. On Friday they return home after being away last weekend. They will face Wayne State on Alumni Day, and on Sunday they hit the road once again to play Augustana. The team is currently sitting on a 4-2 record in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) play.

Wayne State holds a slightly better record out of the two teams the Mavs are playing this weekend, as they sit on a 6-2-2 overall record. The last time the two teams met was on October 17th of last year. The Mavericks earned a 6-0 victory that was led by a hat trick by Maddie Raley.

Wayne State is being led by Carys Hund, who has four goals on the year. Natalie Rech and Brooke Buzzell are close behind with three goals each while, Rech also has one assist. Wayne State’s goalie is Kylie Comba who has started in 10 games and recorded 49 saves, while allowing only nine scores. Comba has recorded three shutouts in 2016.

Augustana is a familiar foe for the Mavericks and a heavy hitter in the NSIC. Augustana is currently sitting on a 6-3-1 record and are 5-1-1 in the NSIC. The team is riding a five-game win streak and are undefeated at home. It will be a big test to see where the Mavericks are in terms of NSIC competition.

The two teams met twice last year. Their first meeting came in the regular season on October 18th where Morgan Cottew scored the game winner late in the second half to give Minnesota State a 2-1 victory. They met a second time later on, this time in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on November 15th. Then-Senior Korey Kronforst led the charge and scored two goals to give the Mavericks a 2-0 shutout and moved on in the tournament. One can expect the returning players from Augustana to still have those loses fresh on their minds, as they try to avenge those losses to some degree.

Augustana’s leader in points for 2016 has been Emily Jacobson, who currently has nine points on the season after dishing out five assists and scoring two goals of her own. The top individual goal-scorer is Samantha Tymkowicz, who has four goals off of 32 shots. Goalkeeper Taylor Machacek has started all ten games this year and has made 56 saves with a .836 save percentage. She’s allowed 11 goals and posted three shutouts.

“Practice this week will be very important as we have two big games this upcoming weekend with Wayne State and Augustana. The three of us are closely ranked in the conference, so coming away with two wins would be ideal of course,” said Senior Kiana Nickel.

The Mavericks have been a team of committee and four players are in double digits for points. Cottew is sitting on top with 14 points with six goals and two assists, Taylor Kenealy has 12 points with five goals and two assists, Nickel also has 12 points but with four goals and four assists, and Alesha Duccini has 10 points with her four goals and two assists.

It’s tough to predict who may getting the starting spot at goalkeeper over the weekend. Alexa Rabune started off the year as a starter and has had that spot for six games, but she has accumulated a 2-3-1 record. Taylor Livermore has started in one game and posted a shutout and in the Mavericks’ most recent game, Ryann Rydeen got her second start of the year and posted her second shutout victory of the year.

The Mavericks will play Wayne State at 1 p.m., Friday, at The Pitch and they will take on Augustana at 1 p.m., Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D.

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