Stinginess continues to be a defining characteristic of the University of Mary's women's soccer team.
The Marauders had allowed just five goals in seven matches prior to Saturday's home tilt against Southwest Minnesota State. The goals-against average took another dip after this one as U-Mary blanked the Mustangs 3-0.
"We have some maturity within the back line and it's showing in how they're playing together," U-Mary coach Sarah Cook said. "We've done a good job in that area, and I'm hopeful we can continue to get better."
Senior Libby Patterson drew high marks for her play in the back, while keeper Hanna Smith, also a senior, continues to play at a high level. Smith stopped all three shots she faced. Cook also singled out midfielder Caitlin Dooley's steady performance.
The Marauders, who improved to 5-2 overall and 3-2-1 in the NSIC, did all their damage early.
Megan Lowery scored in the 5th and 15th minutes to stake U-Mary to a 2-0 edge. Caylin Cathey assisted on the first goal, and Jade Smith got one on the second.
Smith booted home a rebound for a 3-0 Marauder advantage in the 25th minute. Lowery got an assist for the initial shot on frame.
Cook said the team's success goes beyond Xs and Os.
"There's good leadership amongst the group. There's just a cohesiveness that I think really has helped us build some confidence within each other," she said. "Whether things have been going good, or when we've had times where we're struggling, you never really get the sense that things are slipping away. Having success has helped, obviously."
The Marauders are right back at it today, hosting Sioux Falls (S.D.) at 1 p.m. at the Bowl. The top eight teams in the NSIC qualify for the postseason tournament. U-Mary currently sits in four-way tie for fourth in the 16-team league.
"It's a huge game for us," Cook said. "Hopefully we're able to build on what we did today and carry that into (Sunday)."