DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
DULUTH, Minn. — The Winnipeg Wesmen are coming home with a perfect record after a two-day swing through the NCAA.
Nicole Seavers scored a decisive goal in the dying minutes and lifted the Wesmen women's soccer team to a 2-1 win over the Division II Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs Tuesday afternoon at James S. Maslosky Stadium.
Seavers found herself free in the middle of the 18-yard box in the 88th minute and placed a strike inside the right post to break a 1-1 tie and send the Wesmen home with two wins in two matches.
The series began when Sophie Fonseca displaced the ball from a UMD attacker in the Wesmen end and sent a long ball up to winger Sage Pang. Pang found midfielder Alycia Mann, who took control through the middle of the pitch and slid a through-ball to Seavers, who took two steps before delivering the winner.
It was Seavers' second goal in as many games after striking in a 7-0 win over Wisconsin-Superior on Monday afternoon.
"I saved it all for my last year," the fifth-year senior joked. "It feels really good going home with the win. It was a tiring game today, so 1-1 just wasn't good enough for us. So getting that lefty in there with a little bit left (in the game) feels really good."
The Wesmen were put in catch-up mode early when a miscue on their back row led to a Duluth goal just five minutes into the contest.
But Winnipeg managed to take some of the possession time back as the first half progressed, putting three shots on goal and getting a crafty run from freshman Emma Friesen around the 30-minute mark. Friesen got behind the defence and was threatening before she was hauled down in the box. No call was given.
The Wesmen finally broke through in the 63rd minute when junior striker Shae-Lynn Dodds, who led the team with seven goals in conference play last season, got her first of the year, sliding a shot from the left side into the right corner to make it 1-1.
"We spoke about it (Monday) as a team: things we wanted to work on from last year, things we wanted to improve and that's our mental toughness and our ability to stay in games," head coach Amy Anderson said. "We were 1-nil within five minutes and then we came back and had our composure and I'm happy about that. ."
Taryn Raabe, a freshman keeper, made her second straight start and notched her first career complete-game, making eight saves, including one off a second-half free kick from 25 yards out.
"I think I did pretty well," Raabe said. "My distribution could always be better … We did go down one pretty early, which wasn't great … but I tried to communicate with my team and keep it out of the net."
The Wesmen will not have much down time as they head to Regina to play three games as part of the University of Regina Great Plains Challenge. The Wesmen open the tournament with a match Thursday against MacEwan before taking on Regina and Thompson Rivers in the following days.