Confidence continues to grow for the University of Mary women's soccer team.
Road wins over quality teams will do that.
Sunday, the Marauders continued their strong season with a 2-1 away victory over Minnesota Duluth. Combined with Friday's home win over St. Cloud State, the Marauders cemented their top five position in the NSIC.
"I think that as a team we have expectations of ourselves and we continue to build and grow on that every weekend," said U-Mary head coach Sarah Cook. "We're happy but not surprised that we've been able to string together a number of good performances as to what we have as goals in our minds for this season."
The Marauders never trailed on Sunday, leading goal-scorer Megan Lowery made sure of that. In the 24th minute, Lowery headed in a well-placed corner kick by Cassidy Pierce for a 1-0 lead. It was the sixth tally of the season for the junior from Hayden, Idaho.
Still 1-0, Caylin Cathey cooling drilled home a penalty kick to make it 2-0 at the 38:05 mark.
"There's a lot of pressure on penalty kicks ... and you're on the road," Cook said of the Billings, Mont., product. "That's her third game-winner this year."
As usual, the Marauders surrendered little defensively.
Libby Patterson shepherded the back line effectively, while midfielder Caitlin Dooley again drew high praise from Cook.
When called upon, goalkeeper Hannah Smith stopped six of seven shots.
"We were great defensively on set pieces," Cook said. "We've allowed fewer than one goal per game (on average). We've proven we're a pretty difficult team to score on."
The victory over the Bulldogs, who sit in the top half of the NSIC, extended Mary's unbeaten streak to five matches, dating back to Sept. 22. Overall, the Marauders sit fifth in the conference with 17 points. They own a sparkling 7-2-2 overall record and 5-2-2 NSIC mark.
"It's fun to play in a conference where every match is important and the stakes are high," Cook said. "We just want to remain consistent. Right now, the girls are doing a really good job."
Up next is another weekend on the road, playing at Winona State on Saturday and Upper Iowa on Sunday.