The Augustana women’s soccer team scored early and dominated the stat sheet as it rolled to a 2-0 win over conference opponent Upper Iowa on Sunday, Oct. 13 at Morstad Field.
The win marks the Vikings’ sixth straight and moves the team to a 9-1-1 season record. The team also remains undefeated in conference play (6-0-1).
Sophomore goalkeeper Claudia Peuschner recorded her eighth shutout on the season and her seventh straight. She is now closing in on the school record for the most continuous shutouts.
“It would mean a lot to me to break the record,” Peuschner said. “My defense plays a major role in each shutout, I think if they continue to play strong it is a goal that can be attained next weekend.”
This weekend the soccer team handed out vuvuzelas to fans as a promotion for its two Viking Days weekend games. The yellow plastic horns were a hit to the fans, as they boomed around the bleachers all game long.
The tone of the game was set less than eight minutes in when reigning Freshman of the Year Alexis Legg sent her first goal of the season into the net on a cross from sophomore Morgan Keirstead.
“This goal was relieving,” Legg said. “There was a lot of pressure which I handle pretty well but now I’m hungry for more.”
The Vikings fell short on multiple scoring chances before the first half concluded. In the 19th minute, senior Grace Behm—who leads the team in shots and is tied for the lead in goals—hit the crossbar on a chance from inside the box.
In the 22nd minute, Keirstead had a great opportunity in front of the net but sent one just over the crossbar on a pass from freshman Sylvia Fehr. At the half, Augustana outshot the Peacocks 12-6 and had 7 shots on goal to Upper Iowa’s 4. Augustana was in control of the ball for most of the half.
The Vikings continued gathering chances at the start of the second half. Behm sent a shot just wide in the 46th minute. Then, in the 48th minute, Legg had yet another opportunity to score but was blocked by Upper Iowa sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Rudrud.
In the 69th minute, Legg sent a pass into the box for freshman Josie Arsdrudar, but Rudrud made an exceptional point-blank save to keep the score 1-0. Rudrud had 14 saves on the day.
Rudrud continued to stop multiple Viking’s opportunities, but in the 87th minute sophomore Carlie Kray sent a cross into senior Claire Dahm, who put the ball past Rudrud for her third goal in two games.
Head Coach Brandon Barkus said after the game he was happy with how the team is able to adjust to who they are playing against.
“We knew we needed to possess the ball and have some patience and we did that,” Barkus said “I think we had about 62 percent possession of the game and that’s huge.”
Legg put on a strong shooting performance, ending the day with 8 shots, 4 of them on goal.
“Our midfield is amazing and they played great balls to me today,” Legg said. “Our outside forwards also made good crosses in today.”
The Vikings ended the game with 25 shots and 17 shots on goal, the most shots on goal for the team this season. The Peacocks had only 6 shots on goal, due in a large part to Augustana’s defense.
“My defenders play the biggest impact that they could,” Peuschner said. “They continually hold teams to a low number of shots on goal, making my job easy.”
With seven games left before the postseason, Dahm—who is one of eight seniors on the team—hopes that the lessons the older players have shared so far in the season can help prepare the underclassmen to be leaders in the future.
“I hope that I have taught the younger players the importance of giving it your all and having a positive attitude,” Dahm said “Mostly, I hope they understand the importance of stopping and smelling the roses, it goes so fast.”
The Vikings will be back at Morstad Field next weekend to face off against Northern State (3-7) on Friday and MSU Moorhead (3-3-4) on Sunday.
“I plan on just taking each game as it comes and relying on the girls in front of me to do their jobs,” Peuschner said. “As much as I love posting shutouts, winning is the ultimate goal of each game.”