Mid-January temperatures proved to be no problem for the University of Mary women’s soccer team on Wednesday.
The Marauders netted three goals – one each by Samantha Guzman, Sidney Burrell and Maureen Sullivan -- in the final 26 minutes of the game, with the wind chill sitting at 8 degrees, to pull away from Northern State 4-1 at the MDU Resources Community Bowl.
“I guess you kind of get used to it by the end of the game because you can’t really feel anything at that point anyway,” said U-Mary standout midfielder Kylee Welch. “It was cold for sure. When you kicked the ball, it was kind of like kicking a rock, but you still have to go out there, focus on doing your job, and not let it affect you too much. I thought we did a really good job of that today.”
With an 8-4-2 NSIC mark, and 26 points in the conference, the Marauders currently sit 6th in the standings. Only the top four teams get home playoff games, but climbing as high as fifth is still possible for U-Mary, which closes the regular season on Friday at the Bowl against Minot State at 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday’s frigid victory was of the comeback variety after Northern State scored in the 22nd minute and led for nearly the following 20 minutes.
“We challenged them at halftime to find out what we were made of today,” U-Mary head coach Sara Cook said. “We know we’re destined to go to the playoffs, but we still have to show fight and they responded in the second half. I was really, really proud of them."
Yasmina Dokara provided some instant offense off the bench in the second half.
Shortly after entering the game, the freshman from West Fargo Sheyenne assisted on two goals in less than 70 seconds.
Tied 1-1 into the 65th minute, Dokara lofted a perfectly placed corner kick into the goal box. After the ball bounced off two players, Samantha Guzman was there to stuff in the loose ball for a 2-1 U-Mary lead at the 64:12 mark.
Just 1 minute and 24 seconds later, Dokara again broke free down the right side. She pulled the ball back and sent a spot-on cross right to the boot of Sidney Burrell, who one-timed a perfectly-placed shot into the lower right corner of the net.
“Yasmina came in and made some great contributions and got some assists,” Cook said. “She really had a big impact on the game.”
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Dokara is one of several freshmen that have played key roles in the Marauders’ sparkling 10-4-2 season.
“We had a lot of new freshmen at the beginning of the season and they’ve come in and played so well and really helped us become this amazing team,” said Welch. “From the older girls to the freshmen, we have great chemistry and so much positive support for each other.”
The Wolves, who sit 15th out of 16 in the conference, led for nearly 20 minutes before the Marauders equalized on Burrell’s first goal of the game early in the 40th minute. Hannah Richter set up the goal and earned an assist.
Burrell, a senior, had two goals and an assist.
“Sidney played great,” Cook said.
The Marauders got strong play up and down the roster, including reserves who often times had come in after sitting through the 20-degree temps with firm west winds.
“Kylie (Welch) made this extra effort (play) in the first half that I thought we kind of fed off and carried over into the second half,” Cook said. “I thought Cassidy (Pierce) and Sam (Guzman) really stepped up on the back line. Emma Davies stepped in and did some really good things. It was a really nice team effort.”
If the win wasn’t already in the bag, Sullivan ended any doubt.
With just nine minutes left, Burrell feathered a perfect ball up the seam to Sullivan, who took it in stride and whistled home the Marauders’ fourth goal of the game.
“We just have to focus on one game at a time, really study our opponent and know how they play going into the game,” said Welch, a Century High product. “Friday is a really big game for us. We want to finish the season on a high note and carry that into the playoffs.”