Coyotes suffer frustrating loss to North Dakota

For the second time in three years, North Dakota handed South Dakota a loss at home.

Yet, this rivalry matchup produced a more frustrating feeling for the hosts.

Rallying from a 2-1 deficit in the first half, the Sioux ran off three unanswered goals to beat USD 5-2 in a Great West Conference soccer game Friday afternoon in Vermillion.

Not only did the loss come in the regular season finale, it was the fourth straight league loss for the Coyotes (4-11-2, 1-5).

"I wish I knew what happened out there," USD coach Mandy Green said. "We just aren't capable of playing a full 90 minutes. We have a good effort for long periods of time, but can't sustain anything after that."

USD, which beat North Dakota all four times last season, had not dropped a home game to its rival to the north since 2008, a 2-0 loss.

On senior day, the Coyotes got goals from a pair of freshmen in the first half to take an early lead on the Sioux (4-12, 4-2).

The first came from Afton Keiser at the 19:17 mark, on a pass out front from sophomore Erin Bello. After Keiser missed a similar shot one minute later, UND got on the scoreboard on a corner kick from Sheri Stapf — one that needed a brief conference from the refs.

Twenty-seven seconds later, Coyote freshman Jenny Teslow scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season, at the 25:02 mark.

The Sioux tied the game at 2-2 just before halftime, on a goal from Rachael Loomis at the 40:41 mark.

But it was in the second half where the visitors really took control.

Within two minutes of each other, USD had a pair of looks at a goal, but a wide open shot from Teslow went wide and a kick from Keiser was saved by the North Dakota goalkeeper.

From there, the Coyotes struggled to get much of anything rolling on offense, while UND kept on the pressure.

"That's when we let down, and you can't do that in a game like this," said USD midfielder Savanna Lokkesmoe, one of eight seniors playing their final home game. "Every game is different and if you keep your head down, the other team rises up.

"And that's what happened."

With 19:32 left, UND pulled ahead on a long goal from Courtney Beckwirth. Her shot came six seconds after a previous UND kick deflected off the crossbar and back out to Beckwirth.

The Sioux added a pair of goals with under seven minutes left to pull away.

Among the things going wrong for the Coyotes in the second half, they had a couple of players go down briefly with injuries. Senior goalkeeper Jen Ogren was down after the Beckwirth goal, but eventually stayed in.

If necessary, Ogren's backup would have been senior defender Erika Menning, but Menning herself was down for a minute with an injury.

"They are very physical and very fast, and they took advantage of that," Green said. "It's a rivalry game, and you could tell."

In all, North Dakota out-shot USD 19-13, highlighted by an 11-6 edge in the second half. The Coyotes had eight shots on goal, three each from Keiser and Teslow, and two from Bello.

"They capitalized on opportunities and we didn't, and that's frustrating for us," Lokkesmoe said.

USD will conclude its season at the Great West postseason tournament, which starts next Friday in Houston, Texas.

The loss to the Sioux dropped the Coyotes to 1-5 in the league's West Division.

"Every game, we do certain things better, just not enough right now on a consistent basis," Green said. "But we'll see if we can regroup and find a way to play better."

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