The Southwest Minnesota State University soccer team took advantage of a hot, windy day in Hays, Kan., to start the season with a win, defeating Fort Hays State 1-0 on Friday.
"We knew they were a good team. We knew it was going to be a battle," said SMSU head coach TJ Buchholz. "What we talked about was trying to play our game and do what we do."
Buchholz made a tactical decision before the game to play the first half with the wind in their faces.
"We chose to go into the wind in the first half," Buchholz said. "Which means we were on our heels. We had to defend well and our girls really stepped up."
Fort Hays State took 10 shots in the first half, but SMSU was able to withstand the attack.
The Mustangs' Kendahl Fisher scored the games lone goal in the 75th minute gave SMSU the victory. Fisher took a pass from Megan Haninger and put the ball in the lower right corner for the goal.
"Megan Haninger got a great ball center of the goal and she passed the ball to her side to Kendahl," said Buchholz. "She took a great shot and hit the shot with her off foot and buried a ball on the side netting. We were pretty excited. We weathered a lot and to get that goal was exciting.
Mustang freshman goalie Brianna Dehkes recorded her first career win and shutout while collecting eight saves.
"She played outstanding," Buchholz said. "Within the defensive back line and the goalkeeper, they made some really good decisions to keep them off the scoreboard in the first half."
SMSU will travel to Kearney, Neb., today where they will take on Nebraska-Kearney on Sunday before playing two more games the next week.
"It gives you confidence going forward to the next game," said Buchholz. "Knowing all those things we hammered home in our practice sessions have made a difference when you win.
"Sunday is a new day and anything can happen, so the girls have to take it one game at a time."
SMSU 0 1 - 1
Fort Hays State 0 0 - 0
SMSU-Kendahl Fisher (Megan Haninger assist), 75th minute.
SMSU-Brienna Dehkes (10s shots, 8 saves); FH-Nicole Barnaba (4 shots, 1 save).