Confidence and new combinations lead to capitalizing on chances

The Minnesota State women’s soccer team is back in action Friday when they take on Southwest Minnesota State.

The Mavericks are coming off of a 3-0 win against University of Minnesota Duluth Sunday. In the game before UMD, the Mavs took on St. Cloud State University. Assistant coach Elizabeth Vetter described the team’s effort as “low,” and said she felt like their “ability to execute our game plan didn’t go as expected.” 

Against UMD, they were able to get back to displaying the level of energy expected of them by the coaching staff. 

“Our effort in general in Friday’s game was a step down from where we had been. I thought we brought it back up on Sunday. I just thought that effort then allowed us to capitalize on the things that we do. Whether it was our pressure, whether it was how we moved the ball to create chances. In general our effort was back at the level that we needed to be at for us to be able to be successful,” said head coach Brian Bahl. 

Along with bringing the energy levels up as a team, the Mavs were also able to score more than one goal for the first time in a game since the season opener. 

“We finally scored some goals. We mixed up our lines a little bit and had some different players playing with different players and I think some of those combinations paid off for us. I think we were able to create more quality chances and we capitalized when we did get those chances, and hopefully that gives us confidence going into this weekend as well,” Bahl said. 

The Mavs’ front line is full of young players, and Bahl said he believes confidence plays a role in them being able to convert their chances.

“Anytime that you’re not scoring goals it weighs on those players that are expected to score goals. We’ve tried to keep it fairly light, but at the same time, make sure they understand the significance of not wasting chances. Seeing the ball finally go in the back of the net I think gave them some confidence,” Bahl said. 

Something that has been different for the Mavs’ front line over the past two games has been the combinations of players that have been leading the attack.

“We’re just trying to see what clicks right now because it had been pretty stale. We’ve got three different front lines we can run out there pretty much, and all nine of those players have different attributes. I think maybe we had too similar of attribute s on the field at the same time, where now we’ve mixed it up where we’ve got a little more variety on the field at once and different styles that allow us to be less one dimensional and more of a multi-dimensional group,” Bahl said. 

Versatility is something that the program looks for when recruiting players. 

“We never recruit someone to have them sit on the bench. So if moving them to another position allows us to utilize them and get them on the field, that’s a good thing for us, it’s a good thing for the players and it’s a good thing for our team morale. We were able to play like 23 players I think on Sunday, and that’s a really good thing. We want to be able to go that deep or deeper into our bench every single game if we can,” Bahl said. 

The Mavs’ opponent on Friday has a record of 2-5-1, but is coming off of a 2-0 win. Despite their record, Bahl sees SMSU as a “dangerous” team. 

“I think they’re improving a lot. They’ve played some teams really tough, some good teams really tough. They’re definitely a team on the climb and dangerous and if you don’t play well and fall asleep and not executing the things that we need to execute, they’re a team that could sneak up on you,” Bahl said. 

Header Photo: Although it is homecoming week, the Mavs will play their second game of the weekend on the road against Winona State before they return home the following weekend. (Dalton Grubb/The Reporter)

Write to Mohamed Warsame at

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