SOCCER: Bemidji State kicks off in style with 2-0 win over Missouri Western
BEMIDJI -- Abagail Nyquist won't easily forget the first-ever soccer game at Chet Anderson Stadium.
The sophomore defender scored the very first goal on the newly installed FieldTurf surface, added an assist and helped play lockdown defense to help the Beavers top Missouri Western State with a 2-0 shutout in front of freshman goalkeeper Amanda Garvin Friday night, in the season opener for both teams.
"Oh man, I feel so honored to be able to have gotten that first goal," she said. "I mean, I don't score a lot so it's awesome. And I wouldn't have been able to get it without the assist from (freshman Christine Szurek). It was a great day."
BSU head coach Jim Stone appreciated Nyquist's stellar offensive performance.
"It's always nice when you can get offense from your defenders," he said. "We weren't using any wide midfielders so she was able to find ways to get involved in the offense. She had a great game."
The Beavers (1-0) dominated possession and play, especially in the first half. For the first 20 minutes BSU controlled the center of the pitch but couldn't get it past the stout defense of the Griffins (0-1).
But Nyquist finally broke through in the 25th minute following a corner. Missouri Western was able to clear the ball out of the box and out of the way of goalkeeper Sarah Lyle, but Nyquist got a feed from Szurek from the right side of the box and beat Lyle with a strike to make it 1-0.
Six minutes later, Nyquist took a corner kick to the left of the goal and placed it perfectly to freshman Sarah Stram standing in the middle of the box. Stram barely needed to adjust her feet to shoot; the ball bounced off Lyle and into the goal.
"I'm really glad Sarah scored that goal," Nyquist said. "We were getting contributions from freshmen all over the field today, which is great. It's a good sign to know we have depth at every position."
The Beavers went into the locker room up 2-0 and didn't give any ground in the second half, although Stone said he saw his players wear down a bit as the game went on.
"We kept the ball very well and had great ball control in the first half," Stone said. "In the second half we didn't do as good of a job but it's our first game so we're still working on our fitness. We'll get better."
The heat coming off the new FieldTurf surface might have played a factor. Temperature at kickoff was around 90 degrees.
"I think it made it worse," Nyquist said. "The field really absorbs the heat.
"But overall the new surface is awesome. I played on it in high school and I was glad to be playing on it again. I think it really suits how we like to play."
The Griffins had few quality chances in either half. In the 29th minute K.C. Ramsell had a good angle on Garvin but hit the side of the net.
Garvin also made a fantastic save in the second half to preserve the shutout, sprawling out to her left to block a shot by Bailey Dervin in the 85th minute.
In all the Beavers registered 15 shots, including seven on target. The Griffins had 11 shots and seven on target. Lyle made five saves and Garvin seven.
Stone said for a first-ever soccer game on the field, he was pleased with the result -- and the fan turnout. There were around 300 fans in attendance.
"Without the track here the fans are right on top of you," he said. "We had great support today, great enthusiasm. It was a great environment for soccer so we're excited about playing here."
The Beavers return to the field next Wednesday when they'll host Minnesota Crookston at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles lost their season opener to Michigan Tech Thursday.
Bemidji State 2, Missouri Western 0
MWU 0 0 -- 0
BSU 2 0 -- 2
1, BSU, Nyquist (Szurek), 24:20
2, BSU, Stram (Nyquist), 30:16
Stats MWU BSU
Shots 11 15
Corners 2 5
Saves 5 7