BROOKINGS, S.D. (SDSU) — South Dakota State recovered from giving up an early goal to find the back of the net five consecutive times en route to closing out a 5-2 victory over Oral Roberts on Sunday, Oct. 29, in the Summit League Championship semifinals at Fishback Soccer Park.
Oral Roberts jumped ahead early in the matchup by getting off to an aggressive start. The Golden Eagles registered the first three shots of the contest, with the third coming through a crowd of players in front of goal and into the net by Kennedy Langebartels, to put ORU up 1-0 in the fifth minute of action.
It took some time for SDSU to get its footing, but the Jackrabbits took over the match when they did. The Jacks recorded six shots over the next 10 minutes of play forcing two saves by ORU goalkeeper Alexa Riefer.
The Jackrabbits tied the margin at 1-1 in the 19th minute. Avery LeBlanc lost her footing at the top of the box, but gained her composure to take the ball away from a Golden Eagle defender and struck a shot into the top corner of the goal.
SDSU scored the eventual game-winning goal three minutes later.
Birna Bjornsdottir dished the ball to Avery Murdzek who passed it over to the left flank to Laney Murdzek. SDSU’s junior midfielder had a free run into the left side of the box and booted the ball past the Golden Eagle keeper to make it 2-1 in the 22nd minute.
The Jackrabbits added another goal before the end of the half. Katherine Jones snuck a left-footed pass through the Oral Roberts defense to Avery Murdzek. The Summit League Midfielder of the Year made a move past ORU’s Riefer and calmly struck a shot into the net to put the Jackrabbits ahead 3-1 in the 29th minute.
South Dakota State put the game out of reach to begin the second half. A Taryn Hettich shot was deflected off an ORU defender and found its way to Kayla Anderson. SDSU’s senior forward put the shot in past the keeper and Hettich was credited for the assist in the 48th minute. Less than a minute later, SDSU made it a 5-1 score. Bjornsodttir crossed a pass into the box from the right flank and Katelyn Beulke one-timed a shot in for the goal in the 49th minute.
Oral Roberts continued to attack and produced a 69th minute goal. However, SDSU kept the Golden Eagles at an arms distance with a 19-12 edge in shots, while Jocelyn Tanner made six saves in goal for the Jackrabbits.
“It feels great,” South Dakota State head coach Brock Thompson said following the victory. “Obviously, the early goal that Oral Roberts scored somewhat resembled the game against Omaha last year (in the semifinals).
“I’m really proud of the way we responded. We played with a ton of confidence from that point on. We’ve been a team that can score in a variety of ways and from a variety of people and I think that was on display today.”
The Jackrabbits advance to The Summit League Tournament Championship with the victory over the Golden Eagles. It’s the third finals appearance for the Jacks in the previous five seasons and their eight overall showing in a Summit League title match.
- South Dakota State’s five goals are the most by the program ever in The Summit League Championship. It also ranks in a tie for second most ever by a team in the conference tournament among Summit League members.
- SDSU improved to 2-0-1 all-time against Oral Roberts in the Summit League Tournament. The Jackrabbits are now 12-3-3 overall this season.
- Oral Roberts dropped to 8-7-4 as the Golden Eagles season ended in Brookings Sunday. The loss for ORU is its second largest defeat of the season trailing only a 5-0 loss to North Texas in September.
- The three-goal margin for SDSU is its second largest ever in a victory over Oral Roberts. The Jackrabbits defeated the Golden Eagles 5-1 in a 2016 meeting. SDSU is now 16-1-3 all-time against ORU.
The Jackrabbits await the winner of the remaining Summit League Championship semifinal match to know where they will be playing the title game. Top seed Denver is scheduled to host No. 4 Omaha at 6 p.m. CT Sunday.