USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force women’s soccer (3-4) defeated South Dakota (2-6), 2-1, on Sunday afternoon at Cadet Soccer Stadium. Junior Kaitlyn Cook’s goal in the 69th minute lifted the Falcons to its third win in their last four matches.
Tied 1-1, Cook scored on a back-tap right in front of the net. Off a corner kick from junior Taylor Cobb, freshman Alex Giggie redirected into the middle of the box to Cook. Cook was posted up in the middle and tapped the ball backwards right underneath her, perfectly placing the ball under a South Dakota defender and late-reacting goalkeeper for the score.
The first two goal of the match were scored within 24 seconds of each other. Senior Brooke Rittmann scored at the 41:19 mark to give the Falcons the lead. Freshman Jillian Jamero placed a well timed pass to a streaking Rittmann. Rittmann reached the ball in front of the net right before a diving Coyote goalkeeper Coral Suarez and calmly dribbled past Suarez for the easy tap in.
The lead was short-lived, as South Dakota came back with the tying goal at the 41:43 mark. Maddison Sullivan was able to reach a loose ball in front of the net and cleaned up for the score. Madeline Butterfield was credited with the assist.
Air Force held advantages in shots (18-11) and corner kicks (4-1). Junior Jennifer Hiddink had five saves in the win in goal for the Falcons.
"The team showed a lot of character and grit today," Air Force head coach Larry Friend said. "We were still a bit sluggish coming off the Army match Friday. South Dakota came out strong and owned the first 20 minutes of the game. We had to work very hard to fight our way back into the match. It was a beautiful first-career assist for Jillian Jamero on an excellend Brooke Rittmann run. It was quite a punch in the stomach to give up a goal 24 seconds later, but we found a way in the second half to get control of the game. All across the field, the performance improved. Kaitlyn Cook was very good keeping the ball and scored a beautiful game winning goal."
The Falcons are off from competition next weekend. They return to action Friday, Sept. 22, opening Mountain West play against Colorado State.