Eagles fall in duel against Hawks


EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Women’s Soccer continued its strong stretch of play on Sunday afternoon, but the Screaming Eagles began their three-match homestand on the wrong end of a 2-0 loss against the University of North Dakota.
Sunday’s result moved USI to 0-5-1 on the season, as the Screaming Eagles push forward in non-conference play and their preparation for the Ohio Valley Conference season. For North Dakota, out of the Summit League, the Fighting Hawks won their second consecutive match and extended their unbeaten streak to four.
The match started with both teams trying to assert their style of play. USI sophomore keeper Anna Markland (Hoover, Alabama) and North Dakota’s fifth-year senior keeper Madi Livingston made a pair of saves early in the first half. Livingston stopped shots from USI sophomore defender Charli Grafton (Sunriver, Oregon) and freshman forward Pilar Torres (Chula Vista, California). The Screaming Eagles turned up the pressure on North Dakota’s defensive half of the field, controlling the possession.
Following the first-half hydration break, North Dakota quickly took back the momentum. As play resumed, the Fighting Hawks raced up the field and dropped a pass back that was put into the back of the net at the 22-minute mark. However, the Screaming Eagles continued to be the aggressors, getting a couple of shots on goal a few minutes later from sophomore midfielder Peyton Murphy (Bargersville, Indiana) and senior midfielder Paige Vanek (St. Charles, Missouri). Within the last minute of the first half, sophomore forward Deklan Larring (Franklin, Tennessee) sent in a strong strike that forced Livingston to make a high, punch-away save, keeping the score 1-0 North Dakota at the intermission.
Out of halftime, USI continued to control the flow of the match, despite the game’s pace and physicality increasing in the second half. Vanek recorded her second shot on goal in the 50th minute but was saved by Livingston. USI also added to its high tally of corner kicks, getting opportunities off set pieces and the Screaming Eagles’ relentless pressure. Midway into the second half, USI’s reserves helped maintain the pressure up front.
In the latter minutes of the second half, USI started to push its numbers forward to try and find an equalizing goal. North Dakota’s defensive unit held tight, getting stops and creating counter opportunities in the other direction. In the 86th minute, North Dakota’s sophomore midfielder Amelia Loeffler had her shot punched away by Markland. Loeffler was coming off a two-goal game on Thursday and scored the game-winner in 2022 against USI. With North Dakota still ahead 1-0, USI went back in the other direction, getting a final chance from sophomore defender Brynn Quick (Cottage Grove, Minnesota), whose shot missed high. Inside the final minute, North Dakota took advantage of the high numbers from USI and countered for a second goal that closed out the match.

For the contest, both programs totaled 10 shots apiece. USI placed six shots on goal compared to North Dakota’s five. Southern Indiana doubled up North Dakota in corner kicks, 8-4. Vanek led USI as the only player to take two shots, putting both on frame. In goal, Markland finished with three saves.

Southern Indiana continues its homestand at Strassweg Field on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Austin Peay State University. Thursday’s match can be seen with a subscription to ESPN+.