First win no longer elusive

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By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor

 

After watching opponents get the breaks all season long, women’s soccer finally made some breaks of their own and earned their first victory in a 1-0 win over IPFW Friday night.   The Mavs finally put a notch in the win column thanks to the lone goal from senior Danielle Archuleta nine minutes into the match.

“I think we felt, we can do this, we can be up first, we can get the first goal and I think it did validate us in a way,” Archuleta said.  “Our record isn’t defining us, we are a good team and we’re here to make a statement.  I think it honestly was the push to say we can do this as a team.”

Archuleta’s fourth goal of the season came off a wonderful pass from sophomore Anna Sibson.  From just inside midfield, Sibson sent a pass over the top of the Mastodon’s back line.

The ball landed in front of Archuleta and IPFW defender Tylar Allison, but Archuleta had the angle.  She took control of the ball just outside the Mastodon penalty area, came in on goal and faked to the inside pulling Allison to the left.

IPFW goalkeeper Sam Pavlika charged in on Archuleta, but the Mavs‘ senior sent a shot to the right post before Pavlika could react.  Archuleta’s shot curved to the inside and found its way to the back corner of the net.

“Anna played a really good ball through and I just happened to cut it back with enough time,” Archuleta said.  “The keeper was already out of the way so just being able to place it far post was really lucky on my part.  Anna played a really great ball, I couldn’t have done it without Anna and the rest of my team.”

Archuleta’s goal was UNO’s only shot on the Mastodon net in the first half.  Meanwhile, the Mavs  endured an IPFW attack that had four shots on goal.

But freshman keeper Meaghan Clark was up to the challenge.  After struggling at times with clearing the ball in past games, Clark was perfect Friday night.

“The ones before, personally I always take them to heart because I’m the last line of defense, it’s gotta go through me to get in the net,” Clark said.  “I usually take them personally so to get the shutout feels really good.”

Clark saved five Mastodon shots to earn the first shutout of her collegiate career.  In the second half she only had to turn away one.  In most games that hasn’t been the case.  After playing a good first half, UNO’s danger time had always been in the first five to 10 minutes of the second half.

In the 10 prior games, the Mavs had surrendered a goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half seven times.  Coming into the match against IPFW, UNO had allowed one in four straight games.

“Every time we go out we’re cautious because we’ve definitely been a team [where] we play well in the first half then we come out in the second half and they score two goals,” Archuleta said.  “We were really adamant not to let that happen.  We realized where we could break the other team down at and I wanna say we excelled at that today.”

After halftime the Mavs came out as the aggressors.  Though they didn’t score another goal, UNO created chances and put four shots on goal.

The Mastodons finished with 12 shots to the Mavs’ nine, and had five on goal compared to UNO’s four.  But the Mavs spent much of the second half with a sustained attack on IPFW’s half of the field.

“It’s definitely our team maturing and our team getting better,” Archuleta said.  “We’ve communicated better, we’ve gotten better at communicating as a team.  Some mistakes we make is based off our communication, we’re not communicating with each other.”

Head Coach Dan Klosterman said the message he’s been trying to communicate to the team is that they need to learn how to win.  It wasn’t about how, just find a way.

“We’ve had the same opportunities in other games,” Klosterman said.  “Soccer is a funny game, it’s a small margin of error.  “I will say this, which I’ve said before – we haven’t given up, we haven’t quit.  We could have maybe never been to this point to get this win if these guys had quit three days ago.  They didn’t, they kept working themselves through and kept after it and kept fighting and trying to get themselves better.”

The win gives Klosterman 199 for his career.  It may have been his and the team’s first of the year, but it sends a clear message to the rest of The Summit League.

Fort Wayne was picked to finish in the middle of the conference but had earned wins this season against the Missouri Valley Conference and Horizon League.

“I think we felt, we can do this, we can be up first, we can get the first goal and I think it did validate us in a way,” Archuleta said.  “Our record isn’t defining us, we are a good team and we’re here to make a statement.  I think it honestly was the push to say we can do this as a team.”

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