The Augustana Vikings women’s soccer team will be advancing to the semifinal round of the NSIC tournament after its 4-1 win over the Winona State Warriors Oct. 31 at Morstad Field.
Head coach Brandon Barkus said the team deviated from its normal template for the season.
“It wasn’t a great performance today,” said Barkus. “I feel like we were really uptight, didn’t relax like we probably needed to. But then with that said, we’re not usually a high scoring team, yet we just scored four goals. So, I guess today was opposite day.”
Though it was an important win for the team, the Vikings didn’t make their first goal until halfway through the first quarter. The clock was at the 24:32 in the first quarter when senior defender Rebekah Thoresen sent a pass from freshman forward Skylar Moen into Winona’s net.
That was when the Vikings started to find their rhythm. Senior forward Reiley Klose passed to senior midfielder/defender Rebecca Gasper, who sent it past the Warriors’ goalie and into the net with 21:46 left on the clock.
The beginning of the second half started with a big surprise by the Warriors, who made a goal immediately after returning to the field. But Augustana, which was still in the lead 2-1, shut the Warriors down with a goal by freshman midfielder/forward Morgan Keirstead near the 20-minute mark.
With under three minutes left in the second half, freshman midfielder Alexis Legg brought the Vikings’ score to four after receiving a pass from junior midfielder Jensen Froehlich. The Warriors’ score remained at one.
Barkus said that the team needs to work on its mental game.
“The problem with Augustana kids is they’re so darn smart,” he said. “They overthink things way too often, and if we could just relax, work as hard as we can and let everything we’ve been doing in training come out come game day, I think we can be fine.”
According to Thoresen, the extra goals were a change from the team’s previous performances.
“Just scoring four in a postseason game was kind of incredible, just because that’s not really who we have been the last couple of weeks,” Thoresen said.
Offensively, the Vikings had a total of six shots and four corner kicks. Freshman goalkeeper Claudia Pueschner performed well defensively with a total of 10 saves.
Senior defender Lauren Brownrigg said that as the team moves forward into the conference championship, it will need to work to remain competitive.
“Our performance has to keep increasing because from here on out, the teams that we’re going to be playing are all really skilled, really fast and athletic and they’re only going to get better,” said Brownrigg. “So, we just need to make sure that we’re performing at our highest level every minute of the game.”
The Vikings have made it into the NSIC playoffs consecutively for the last six years.
Brownrigg said that as a senior, she feels great about being in the playoffs.
“This is kind of an expectation at this point, making it into the post-season, and making a run in the conference tournament, and then hopefully making (the NCAA tournament),” she said. “it just feels great that we can keep it going.”
The Vikings will play in Mankato on Friday against the Minnesota State University Mavericks. The game will begin at 11 a.m at The Pitch Field.
View our photo gallery from the game below. Click to enlarge.
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