Wayne State soccer goes 1-1 on weekend road trip

William Barnard, Staff Writer

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The Wayne State Wildcats played two away conference games last weekend, starting the road trip off at Upper Iowa Friday and ending the trip with a visit to Winona State on Sunday.

Wayne State entered the game against UIU coming off a shutout at home against a tough Minnesota Duluth team. The Wildcats backed up that performance with another strong defensive performance, beating the Peacocks in overtime 1-0.

“We have had back to back games with shutouts,” head coach Joe Cleary said. “It was a good shutout and we have now had a shutout in three of the last four games. This shows that we are playing consistent defense.”

The ‘Cats led the second half in shots (2-1) against the Peacocks. The game went into overtime but the extra time ended almost as quickly as it started. WSC senior defender Alex Strothers shot a free kick that was blocked by Peacock goalie Natalie Rudrud, but the rebound fell nicely to junior midfielder Sophia Ketchmark, who calmly slotted home the game-winning goal.

The second half of the game was a physical, defensive battle.

“I told them I am happy for them because it has been a long time without winning a game in overtime,” Cleary said.

The game was made even tougher by wet conditions on Friday in Fayette, Iowa.

Following the hard-fought victory over Upper Iowa, the Wildcats looked to build on their recent success. Winona State, however, outshot the Wildcats on Sunday 12-7, scoring one goal in each half. Wayne State managed just two shots on goal while the Warriors had nine.

The loss dropped the Wildcats to 11th place in the conference standings with a record of 3-5-1 (3-7-1 overall). Despite the setback, the team remains in the conference playoff picture, only one win behind a four-way tie for the coveted eighth spot that secures postseason play.

“I remind the team why we are here and that we are still in the hunt and that we need to take care of business,” Cleary said.

The ’Cats travel to Minnesota State University-Moorhead Friday at 3 p.m. and finish the road trip with a visit to Northern State on Sunday for a 1 p.m. contest.

“We need to get healthy, rested, and fine tune the running of our offense to be more potent because we will need to score a few goals in this weekend’s games,” Cleary said.

Following the weekend road trip, the Wildcats have three consecutive home games before finishing the season on the road against Minnesota State University-Mankato Oct. 28.

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