INDIANOLA, Iowa -- An opening-minute goal proved to be the difference as the Simpson women's soccer team won 1-0 over Knox on Sunday to claim its seventh shutout of the year and remain unbeaten.
Before a minute struck off the clock, Dani Marquez sent a cross sailing into the box from 30 yards away, allowing Cami Schmalz to corral the ball in stride and slice it past the Prairie Fire's (5-3-1) goalkeeper for the game winner.
The Storm (5-0-3) thwarted a lot of good looks Knox had during the game in hopes of evening the score. The visitors had a 14-9 shot advantage during the rain-soaked contest, but Rachel Neumann held firm in goal and made seven saves, while her defenders helped dispel many chances.
Megan Roberts looked to get in on the scoring for Simpson, but her shot rose too high and hit the crossbar in the 28th minute. Roberts was a threat on the opponent's half of the pitch and took three shots to pace the team.
• Schmalz scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season and now has seven for her career. Of her four goals this year, three have been game winners, which is tied for first in the American Rivers Conference.
• Marquez notched her first assist of the year and first point as well in only her second start this fall.
• The team's bench showed its depth by fielding 21 players in the win, compared to the Prairie Fire's 15 that saw action.
• In only her first season in a Storm uniform, Neumann is first in the conference in goals against average (.165), shutouts (4) and second in save percentage (.962).
• As a team, they are still leading the A-R-C in goals allowed with just one through eight contests.
Comments from Coach Reinert
"I'm so round of the group we fought with this afternoon. In another gritty performance, we found a way to win and it feels like we've finally rewarded ourselves after three great performances this week.
We took another big step forward and proved we can't just play with the good teams, we can earn results.
Our group is playing with a lot of confidence right now. We are looking forward to one more nonconference battle to prepare us for the talented conference season that's right around the corner."
Simpson is back in action Wednesday as Waldorf visits for a 4 p.m. contest inside Buxton Stadium.