UND women’s soccer hopes exhibition scoring is a sign of things to come
In the UND women’s soccer exhibition opener Wednesday night at East Grand Forks Senior High, Fighting Hawks coach Chris Logan saw the offensive mix he’s hoping is a trend this season.
Senior and 2017 leading scorer Katie Moller scored but so did three freshmen in the 5-1 win over Manitoba.
“We know the freshman class is very talented,” Logan said. “They’re having to learn very quickly what it takes at the college level. Thankfully, they’re really getting attuned to the college level. It’s good to see them step up and see what it takes at this level. That bodes well for the future.”
UND, in its first season in the Summit League, is coming off its best year in the Big Sky Conference. Logan, in his first season, led UND to a 6-8-4 record -- a four-win improvement from the previous season.
The six wins were the most for the program since 2011. The program, which started in 1999, has struggled to find consistent success but Logan’s inaugural season provided a glimmer of hope.
The league hasn’t released a preseason poll, but Logan, a former North Dakota State assistant, said South Dakota State and Denver are typically Summit powers.
“I think for us to really take a next step … we need the experience of a postseason,” Logan said. “The hardest part is making the postseason. I’ll be very disappointed if the last game of the season we aren’t in the mix. We have the ability to be a postseason team. Do we have experience? No, but we’re hoping with the confidence the returning players have, as well as the senior leadership, that’ll drive us forward to a bid at postseason.”
Moller, of West Linn, Ore., was a 10-goal scorer and all-Big Sky Conference First Team pick a year ago. She led the league in goals per game (0.56).
“We have high expectations for Katie and she has high expectations for herself,” Logan said. “The nice thing this year is we have other people who can help. I don’t think all the weight is on her shoulders this fall.”
Against Manitoba, freshman Olivia Knox scored twice and classmates Cassie Giddings and Maddy Beams scored once.
“We created plenty of opportunities at goal so that was the pleasing part,” Logan said. “We saw lots of players getting to good areas to create. Overall, as a starting point, I was definitely very happy with where we’re at.”
UND continues exhibition play Saturday at 3 p.m. against South Dakota in East Grand Forks.
The Fighting Hawks kick off the regular season Aug. 17 against Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La.