Maverick soccer seeks consistency

After spending two consecutive weekends at home the Minnesota State Mavericks soccer team will be spending one day on the road before they return to Mankato on Sunday.

First on the schedule is the University of Sioux Falls Cougars on the road, followed by a return home to play the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs.

“I was very proud of how we responded after taking the hit on Friday,” Head Coach Brian Bahl said on last weekend’s split.

The Mavericks are coming off a weekend with some high’s and low’s, including ending the weekend with a 5-0 win over Minnesota Duluth which included a hat trick by freshman Taylor Kenealy.

“After a tough loss against St. Cloud it really gave us the little extra fire we needed to get the 5-0 win against [Minnesota] Duluth,” Kenealy said about the hat trick.

After splitting those games, the Mavs are holding onto a 2-2-1 record. While their record may not show it, the team is much better than it would first indicate.

Their loss to St. Cloud was only by one goal, their season opener against Wisconsin-Parkside ended in a draw after neither team was able to get on the board, and their loss to Grand Valley State looked big on paper but the Mavs were keeping up in shots against a very good team. To continue improving, it will be essential that the women finalize the gelling process for this mostly new-looking team.

“Going into this weekend’s games I hope we are able to take that win [against St. Cloud] and run with it by playing with that extra fire and motivation to end the weekend with two wins,” Kenealy said. “I feel like the team is finally finding its rhythm so I have a lot of confidence going into this weekend!”

They will need that rhythm as they continue in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) action. The play started last weekend so they are currently sitting on a 1-1 conference record.

“This weekend’s games pose a couple more big challenges for us. Both opponents are greatly improved from where they were a year ago,” Bahl said.

Sioux Falls will enter the weekend with a 1-4-1 record, including a 1-2 mark in the NSIC. Their current leading shooter is Alexa D’Acunto who has taken 11 shots and converted one of them into a goal. The Cougars split games last weekend, but their last game was their first win of the season over Minnesota State Moorhead so expect them to try and ride that wave of momentum in continuing on building their season.

Southwest Minnesota State holds possesses a better record at 3-3 overall with an NSIC record of 2-1. The Mustangs leading scorer is Amanda Hartman who has three goals on the year and has taken 16 shots. Alexandra Miskowiec is close behind her with two goals of her own off seven shots.

“We’ll need to make sure we take advantage of our chances in the final third, compete for every ball, have plenty of energy and smarts in how we defend everywhere on the field and make sure we are the mentally stronger team,” said Bahl on how to be successful over the weekend.

The Mavs take on Sioux Falls at 6 p.m. Friday, in Sioux Falls and will return home to face Southwest Minnesota State at 1 p.m. Sunday at The Pitch.

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