Jenny Stromberg scored in the 82nd minute to propel the Bemidji State soccer team past Augustana College 2-1 in the first round of the NSIC / US Bank Women's Soccer Tournament on Wednesday afternoon.
The playoff win is the first for the Beavers since 2005. BSU, the No. 3 seed, advances to face No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth in the tournament semifinals Friday at noon in Winona. No. 1 Winona faces No. 4 MSU, Mankato in the other semifinal Friday.
Bemidji State scored in the first six minutes of the game to jump-out to an early lead. Jamie Ford carried the ball down the right flank before crossing it in front of the goal. The ball caught the wind and Augustana keeper Amanda Wagner was forced to tip the ball as it bounced off the cross bar. The rebound was bobbled by Wagner and Ashlee Ellefsen followed through on the put back for her 40th career goal.
The Beavers controlled the majority of play in the second half and outshot the Vikings 19-9.
Wagner made four saves in the half while Samantha Ross turned away five shots for the Beavers.
The Vikings came out firing in the second looking for an equalizer.
Bemidji State had trouble cracking the Viking midfield in the half and Augustana tied the game at 1-1 in the 59th minute in Stephanie Goos' goal.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Beavers caught a lucky break.
A crossing ball played by Ellefsen was mishandled by an Augie defender and Stromberg was there to carry the loose ball into the Viking 18-yard box.
Stromberg then fired a shot that found its way to the top-right corner of the net to give the Beavers a 2-1 lead.
The BSU defense smothered the Vikings the rest of the way and Ross finished with nine saves to record her first career postseason victory.
The NSIC released its all-conference soccer team Wednesday and Ellefsen was named to the all-conference first team and was named the NSIC Offensive Player of the Year.
She led the NSIC in shots per game (4.23) and was second in assists with six. She was also tied for fifth in points (1.23) and seventh in goals (5).
The all-time leader in points, goals and assists at Bemidji State was named NSIC Offensive Player of the Week back on September 7th after scoring two game winning goals that week. In the BSU's 3-2 win over Winona State, Ellefsen score a goal and assisted on two others as BSU handed the Warriors their only loss in league play this season.
BSU defender Alysha Domiano was named to the all-NSIC second team, senior forward Jamie Ford was named ot the all-NSIC third team and goalie Samantha Ross was named an all-NSIC honorable mention.
NSIC/U.S. Bank Soccer Tournament
No. 3 Bemidji State 6, No. Augustana 1
No. 1 Winona State 3, No. 8 Upper Iowa 1
No. 4 MSU, Mankato 3, No. 5 St. Cloud State 1
No. 2 Minn.-Duluth 1, No. 7 U-Mary 0
Friday's Semifinals at Winona
No. 3 Bemidji State vs. No. 2 Minnesota- Duluth, noon
No. 1 Winona State vs. No. 4 MSU, Mankato, 3 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.