Coyote soccer wins Summit League Opener

USD defeats St. Thomas 3-1
Defeat St. Thomas 3-1
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 11:21 PM CDT
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VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Ashby Johnston’s two terrific goals were the difference in South Dakota’s 3-1 win against St. Thomas Thursday at First Bank & Trust Soccer Complex in the Summit League opener for both teams.

South Dakota (5-2-3) has won three in a row and improved to 3-0 against St. Thomas, the newest Summit League member. The Tommies (2-3-3) were coming off 1-1 ties against Drake and Marquette, two top-100 RPI programs, but are winless in their last five matches.

Johnston scored her 12th and 13th career goals. Her seven goals this season lead all Summit League players. She has found the net in six of her last seven matches.

Both Johnston goals came off passes from Rylee Haldeman. The first came in the 36th minute with the Coyotes already ahead 1-0. Haldeman won a ball on the left side of the box, controlled and centered to Johnston who bodied the ball to left and fired a left-footed shot into the right side of the net. That 2-0 lead held into the break.

St. Thomas answered in the 69th minute. Molly Knoblauch took a nice feed from Mariah Nguyen and drilled a shot from just outside the box to the top-left corner of the net. It was Knoblauch’s first collegiate goal.

Haldeman and Brooke Conway worked a perfect give-and-go on the left side to setup the final score. Haldeman crossed and Johnston was there with a header to push the lead back to two. The score came with 15 minutes to go.

It was Conway who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. She took a feed from Shaylee Gailus, dribbled to her right from the top of the box and placed a beauty into the top-left corner. It was Conway’s fourth goal of the season and second in as many matches.

South Dakota stays home to host rival-South Dakota State in a Sunday start at 1 p.m.