DULUTH, Minn. – The Michigan Tech soccer team hit the road for the first time this season Friday night and came away from Minnesota Duluth with a 1-0 victory. It's the second straight shutout win for the Huskies who edged St. Cloud State last Sunday 1-0 at Sherman Field.
"I thought we came out tonight and controlled the tempo and pace of the game early," Head Coach Michelle Jacob said. "We were able to get on the attack and it was good to see Jacqi (Mielke) get her first goal of the season to put us in front in the second half. Our defense did a great job of keeping its composure in the second half, especially when Minnesota Duluth turned up the pressure after we scored the goal. Kirsen (Hudak) made a couple of great saves and our backline did an outstanding job keeping them away from the net."
The Bulldogs then challenged Michigan Tech goalie Kirsen Hudak for the first time in the match when Skye Finley had her shot turned away by Hudak in the 14th minute. It would be the first of six saves on the night for Hudak who now has 14 on the season.
The Huskies continued to put pressure on the Bulldog defense, forcing goalkeeper Sisley Ng to make stop on a shot off the foot of sophomore midfielder Andrea Zubke. Senior forward Jaci Mielke had another attempt blocked by the Minnesota Duluth defense before the first half went into the books.
The Huskies persistence paid off in the second half with what would be the only goal of the night. With time winding down in the 75th minute, Mielke found the back of the net for the first time in the 2016 campaign. Mielke's shot glanced off the inside of the post before bounding across the line for a 1-0 Tech lead. Mielke was the second leading scorer on the team in 2015 with 10 goals behind Lexi Herrewig who fired in 13 goals. Herrewig is now a student assistant coach for the Huskies.
Junior defender Olivia Smith was credited with her first assist of the season thanks to a precision pass into the box that setup Mielke for the game winning kick. It was the second career assist for Smith.
Meanwhile, the Huskies defense buckled down for the final 15 minutes to keep the shutout intact. Hudak came up with another crucial save in the 84th minute and the backline kept the Bulldogs out of the attacking third as time expired.
Mielke powered the offense with a match high five shots and had the lone goal of the night. Senior defender Jessica Splittgerber had three shots in the contest followed by Fife and Zubke with two shots apiece.
As a team, the Huskies held the advantage in total shots 15-11 and once again enjoyed the edge in corner kicks 6-3.
Natalie St. Martin paced Minnesota Duluth with three shots trailed by Skye Finley with a pair of shots on goal. Ng made seven saves for the Bulldogs in front of the net.
Michigan Tech will head to Bemidji State on Sunday afternoon for another non-conference match starting at 1 p.m. EDT.
"Bemidji State is a strong team and we'll spend tomorrow resting up and getting ready to go Sunday," Jacob added.