SDSU Soccer earns sixth straight win

BROOKINGS- South Dakota State women's soccer turned in an offensive showcase Saturday afternoon at Fishback Soccer Park, rolling past New Mexico State 4-0 in its nonleague finale.

The Jackrabbits (8-3) pushed their winning streak to six with a shutout victory in the first-ever GOALD Game, racking up 21 shots (10 on goal) while allowing just three shots total.

SDSU hosted honorary captain Axel Toft and his family for the day's events, as the Jackrabbits teamed up with Sanford Cure Kids Cancer! to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer. Axel and SDSU captains Carina McLennan and Hailee Fischer (another honorary choice for the day) took part in a pregame coin toss, and Axel and his family "pie'd" select members of Jackrabbit athletic programs as part of the festivities.

"There are certain things bigger than the game of soccer, and we appreciate all the support with the GOALD Game and bringing awareness to childhood cancer," head coach Brock Thompson said. "I think one of the things that needs to be noted is that coach Baarts of New Mexico State gave us a donation for the game, which I think is a very classy move. I have a ton of respect for him and his program."

Maya Hansen, McLennan, Rachel Hewitt and Leah Manuleleua scored goals for the Jacks. Shayna Stubbs, Gabby Vivier-Hannay, Abigail Kastens and Sunniva Dunagan (twice) tallied assists.

Maggie Smither, who was honored pregame for setting the school's all-time shutout record, posted another clean slate between the pipes with a pair of saves.

The Jackrabbits controlled the pace of play throughout the contest, holding possession 62 percent of the time. The Jacks had six corners and scored on one of those set pieces.

Manuleleua (six shots) and Hansen (five shots) each had three shots on goal to pace the squad in chances, while two of Darien Poelstra's attempts were on target.

"I'm proud of our team and the effort they put forth today," Thompson said. "Our forwards did a really good job of running through and being threatening without the ball. That allowed us to create some very quality goal scoring chances and it seemed to make us dangerous throughout the game."

South Dakota State jumped out to a 1-0 lead off Hansen's foot in the 10th minute of action and never looked back, as Stubbs played a thru ball into the box for Hansen and the right-footed freshman beat the keeper. It was her third score in as many games.

Later in the half, McLennan found the net for the first time this season in the 37th. Vivier-Hannay sent a ball past the Aggie defense to set up the scoring opportunity, and after Kastens gathered it on the right edge of the box, she played a low cross towards to feet of both McLennan and Manuleleua, who were waiting in the box. It was the Winnipeg, Manitoba native that connected in the cross, sending a shot into the upper left corner of the goal.

Ahead 2-0, the Jacks tacked on one more before halftime when Dunagan took possession near midfield, dribbled through a pack of Aggies and found Hewitt breaking away. Dunaga's ball found Hewitt just outside the box as she blasted a shot past the diving keeper.

Manuleleua scored SDSU's fourth and final goal of the contest early in the second half, as Dunagan's cross off a corner kick was placed perfectly for a header goal from the Manteca, California forward.

Game Notes
South Dakota State is 1-0 all-time against New Mexico State.
The Jackrabbits have won six straight games and posted a winning nonleague record for the fourth time in the last five years.
SDSU's eight nonleague, regular season victories are the most in Jackrabbit soccer history.
Maggie Smither is less than 20 saves away from breaking the school's all-time saves mark.
Six consecutive shutout victories is the second-longest streak in SDSU's history, matching streaks from 2013 and 2017 . The Jacks won eight straight games without allowing a goal in 2008. SDSU also had an eight-game shutout streak (with one tie) in 2011.
South Dakota State raised over $2,000 for Sanford Cure Kids Cancer! before the game. Final numbers on donations will be available later this month.

South Dakota State begins Summit League play next weekend at home. The Jackrabbits host North Dakota Sunday at 1 p.m. to wrap up Hobo Day weekend. SDSU will recognize alumni at the game and honor the all-time top XI, as voted on by fans this season.