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UND women’s soccer exceeding expectations

UND was picked fifth in the preseason Summit League soccer poll, meaning the Fighting Hawks were expected to be in the mix for one of the four postseason tournament berths.

UND's Emma Contino (center) rises above the Western Illinois defense for a header Thursday afternoon at East Grand Forks Senior High. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
UND's Emma Contino (center) rises above the Western Illinois defense for a header Thursday afternoon at East Grand Forks Senior High. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

UND was picked fifth in the preseason Summit League soccer poll, meaning the Fighting Hawks were expected to be in the mix for one of the four postseason tournament berths.

Nothing UND did Thursday in a convincing 5-0 win over Western Illinois at East Grand Forks Senior High Field changed that perception. The Hawks received goals from five players en route to improving their record to 8-2-1.
Now, however, comes the tough part of UND's schedule. UND hosts rival North Dakota State-picked fourth in the preseason poll-on Sunday before hitting the road for matches next week at Omaha and league favorite Denver.

"We've been playing well at home but it took us about 20 minutes to wake up," said UND coach Chris Logan. "Today was the best we've played this year and it came at the right time. Today was very convincing."

Mimi Eiden got the Hawks on the board at 28:06 with here first goal of the season.

The Hawks dominated the second half as they received goals from Brittany Mueller, Olivia Knox, Cassie Giddings and Emma Bangert.

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UND outshot the Leathernecks (0-3-0, 2-9-1) 23-15 and had seven corner kicks to Western's one.

Olivia Swenson finished with five saves in goal for the Hawks.

The Hawks, who are 2-0 in the Summit, now turn their attention to the heart of their schedule-starting with Sunday's rivalry game against the Bison.

"We're very familiar with them," said Logan, a former NDSU assistant. "They're big and they're physical. Their front three are very good. It's going to be physical and it will be two teams striving to be in the top four of the league."

UND is in its first season in the Summit. Last season, the program made progress as it finished with six wins-a four-win improvement from 2016.

Now, UND has a bigger goal-to make the four-team Summit tournament, scheduled to start Nov. 1 in Brookings, S.D.

"We're taking every game as it comes," said Logan. "We think we can play with anybody."

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Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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