VERMILLION — Two first-half goals from Alexis Mitchell and Dani Brown helped push South Dakota to a 2-0 victory over Western Illinois in the regular season finale for both sides at the First Bank and Trust Soccer Complex on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s match was the final home contest for six South Dakota seniors (Kellee Willer, Makenzie Burmeister, Taylor Kelly, Courtney Stodola, Amanda Carpio and Taryn LaBree), who helped guide the Coyotes to a 2-0-2 record down the stretch, including a 1-1 draw in the Showdown Series rivalry match against South Dakota State on Oct. 27.
Mitchell led all players with three total shots and a pair of shots on goal on the afternoon, and both Joana Zanin and Tiannah Moore had a pair of shots for the Coyotes (8-9-2, 3-3-2 Summit). Amy Andrews, Zoe Clarke and Natalie Nagle each finished with a pair of shots for the Leathernecks (6-11-1, 2-6 Summit).
South Dakota jumped ahead early on a goal in the fourth minute from Mitchell. Carpio, who was on the left side of the attacking third, crossed over to Mitchell in the center of the box, and the junior deflected the ball past Leatherneck goalkeeper Ines Palmiero Herrera for her sixth goal of the season to give the Coyotes the 1-0 advantage.
Later in the opening half, Teresa Fontenot brought down the ball just outside of the left side of the Western Illinois box and found the streaking Brown, who put the ball into the top left corner to provide the insurance goal with her second strike of the season at the 38:51 mark.
Goalkeeper Emma Harkleroad had four saves in her first appearance since Oct. 6, and the contest was the second shutout of her career.
With Sunday’s victory, South Dakota secured back-to-back eight-win seasons for the first time since 2014 and 2015, and the Coyotes’ three Summit League defeats are tied for their fewest since joining the league in 2011 alongside the 2015 campaign.