VERMILLION -- The Senior Day presentation held prior to the start of the University of South Dakota women’s soccer game was the start of a day of celebration as the Coyotes defeated Northern Iowa 1-0 Sunday at First Bank and Trust Soccer Complex in Vermillion.

“It was a battling game and I think it took us a while to figure out what they were doing,” USD head coach Michael Thomas said. “I thought we grew into the game as the game went along and it was never going to be a wide open game and I was proud of the women for finding a way to find a result.”

Neither side scored in the first half as both defenses held strong and kept the ball in the midfield. Neither side put a lot of pressure on the opposing defense.

The Coyotes finally broke through in the 54th minute with Jordan Centineo scoring off an assist by Maddison Sullivan.

“They do some pretty particular things with their backline that we struggled to figure out in the first half,” Thomas said. “We were able to make a couple adjustments that enabled us to get behind their back line. I thought Jordan Centineo really did a good job figuring the game out.”

The Coyote defense pitched its fifth shutout in seven games to this point in the season. Emma Harkleroad, one of the seniors honored prior to the game, held the Panthers out of the goal for the second time this season.

“The defense has been a rock this year,” Thomas said. “We ask a lot of our defenders and they’ve been good individually and they’ve been good as a unit. Emma’s been there to clean up what the defense can’t do.”

The Coyotes beat Northern Iowa 1-0 a week ago at Northern Iowa and recorded a second 1-0 win Sunday afternoon in Vermillion.

The Coyotes now have a week off before the final non-conference game at home against Iowa State Sunday.

We’re fairly defined in what we do,” Thomas said. “I think the idea is to keep getting faster and more comfortable within the ideas and within the framework of what we do. We’re looking at that and we’re excited to welcome Iowa State to town next Sunday.”

Follow @BaileyZubke on Twitter.

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