HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech soccer team wrapped up the opening weekend of the 2016 season with a 1-0 win over St. Cloud St. Sunday afternoon at Sherman Field. The Huskies notched their goal midway through the first half and held on to secure the shutout.
"I think we got better as the game went on," Head Coach Michelle Jacob said. "Early in the game I think we were a little bit sloppy and we didn't take care of the ball or move it very well. We were able to get the goal in the first half and have the 1-0 lead at the break. Offensively, we were able to create a lot of opportunities and I was really excited to see that. A lot of credit to our team for managing the game especially in the second half to pull out the victory."
Not much happened offensively for either side in the first half Sunday until midway through the period. Jordan Loya of St. Cloud St. (1-1) had the first look at the net in the 13th minute, but her shot was stopped by Michigan Tech goalie Kirsen Hudak to keep it scoreless in the early moments.
Six minutes later, the Huskies made their way into the attacking third with Jacqueline Mielke being denied a potential goal by keeper Julia Clifford. However, Tech kept the pressure on and set up an attack on the left side of the field a few minutes later.
Senior defender Jessica Splittgerber pushed the ball along the sideline and made her way just to the left of the box where she spotted freshman forward Alex Vasile in the middle of the field. Splittgerber delivered a quick precision pass to the middle of the box where Vasile was waiting for it. Vasile put a quick strike on the ball with her left foot and tucked it into the corner of the net for what would be the game winning kick in the 23rd minute. It was Vasile's first career goal and the first assist for Splittgerber this season.
Although the Huskies weren't able to add to the lead, they kept the St. Cloud St. defense busy the rest of the afternoon. Michigan Tech combined for seven shots on goal in the final 45 minutes, with numerous Huskies garnering opportunities to shoot at the net. Meanwhile, the Tech defense halted St. Cloud State's attack in the second half, limiting them to four total shots without any needing to be stopped by Hudak.
Mielke had a team high three shots on goal for the Huskies followed by Splittgerber with two shots on goal and the assist. Andrea Zubke took two attempts and the only try for Vasile proved to be the game winning goal. As a team, the Huskies offense out-shot St. Cloud St. 13-9 while holding a 6-2 edge in corner kicks. Hudak made three saves on the afternoon with all three coming in the first half.
Maria Kass had a game high four shots for St. Cloud St. and Clifford made 10 saves in 90 minutes of work at the front of the net.
Michigan Tech will take the field again on Friday when the team travels to Minnesota-Duluth for another non-conference match at 7 p.m. The Huskies will then face Bemidji State Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
"We are leaving this weekend in a good place," Coach Jacob added. "I think as we get on the road we can spend our time focused on the games ahead. I know the girls are hungry for Duluth and Bemidji and will look to keep our momentum moving forward into the weekend."