DES MOINES, Iowa - On a night when the Drake women's soccer team honored its six seniors, it was a 29th-minute goal (28:22) by Annie Dale that spoiled the celebration as Northern Iowa (2-12, 1-2 MVC) registered a 1-0 victory past the Bulldogs (2-9-3, 0-2 MVC) on Sunday (Oct. 13) at the Cownie Soccer Complex.
“When we're struggling to get results we have to take the field every time ready to battle and fight for anything we can get,” Drake head coach Lindsey Horner commented. “UNI was exactly what we prepared for; hard working and tough, yet it was disappointing that we looked stumped when they beat us to 50/50 balls or hit a hard tackle. MVC play isn't always pretty, but the mental and physical qualities of our team can't waiver.”
Honored before the game in recognition of their accomplishments to the Drake program over the last four seasons were seniors Paige Dusek (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North), Megan Fisher (Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny), Ann Hoover (Nevada, Iowa/Nevada), Kalena Litch (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata), Charlie Maxwell (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) and Brittany Schuling (Bondurant, Iowa/Bondurant-Farrar).
“I am a big fan of our senior class, and wanted nothing more than to get a result for them tonight, but with that said they are a big part of the equation,” said Horner. “I have high expectations for these players and know they are capable of being durable, responding, and leading us here down the homestretch. We're in a position where we have to get results on the road now.”
The in-state showdown proved to be a defensive battle as the two teams combined for 14 shots in the game, including only six in the second half. The Panthers captured the triumph despite being limited to five shots on the evening.
The one-goal margin marked the 11th time this season that the Bulldogs have had an affair decided by a goal or less, including the last five contests.
Drake's best scoring opportunities came on its only two shots on goal in the 75th (74:24) and 88th (87:30) minutes, respectively, off the feet of Maxwell and sophomore Rhian Pritchard (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley North).
Dusek recorded a game-high three shots for the Bulldogs, while freshman Kayla Armstrong (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Xavier) contributed a pair of shots. Five different Northern Iowa players were credited with a shot in the victory.
Nicole Postel made two saves for the Panthers en route to collecting the shutout, while junior Andrea Swanson (Clive, Iowa/Valley) also recorded a pair of stops for Drake.
The Bulldogs now hit the road for a conference tilt at Missouri State on Friday (Oct. 18). Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.