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Bemidji State's Mary O'Brien (18) fights for the ball with Minnesota Crookston's Danielle Gau during the second half of their game Wednesday night at Chet Anderson Stadium. The Beavers won 1-0. JACK HITTINGER | BEMIDJI PIONEER

WOMEN'S SOCCER: Szurek lifts Bemidji State over Minnesota Crookston

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BEMIDJI — In Bemidji State’s season opener last Friday against Missouri Western, the Beavers showed off their depth in a 2-0 win.

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In that game, BSU saw a game-winning goal from a defender and a goal and an assist from two freshmen to come away with a victory.

If Wednesday’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener against Minnesota Crookston is any indication, BSU’s depth from upperclassmen to freshman will pay off big time this year.

Freshman Christine Szurek scored the game’s only goal two minutes before halftime and the Beavers held on to defeat a defensive-minded Golden Eagles squad 1-0 at Chet Anderson Stadium.

“It’s nice to know that some of the younger players like myself can step up and make some big plays,” Szurek said.

“It really sets up well for the future. I think we’re going to be pretty good for the next couple years.

“But I also think we’re really good now.”

Szurek, who had an assist Friday, put the Beavers on the board after more than 40 minutes of scoreless play that saw the Beavers (2-0, 1-1 NSIC) push the Golden Eagles to the limit.

Szurek finally gave BSU something to show for it.

In the 42nd minute the freshman from Andover found the ball at her feet on the 18-yard marker after receiving a long pass from defender Samantha Lumberg.

She barely hesitated, lofting the ball up with precision and blooping it over the outstretched hands of Crookston goalkeeper Lexie Gauger. It landed neatly in the back of the goal and Szurek’s teammates mobbed her to congratulate her first collegiate goal.

“As soon as I got that pass from Sam, everything kind of slowed down,” Szurek said. “I just kinda took a shot and it went in. It was a great feeling, especially considering the situation.”

The Golden Eagles (1-2, 0-1 NSIC) were content to wait for the Beavers to make a mistake, playing a perfect physical, defensive-minded game and throwing the Beavers off their offensive game.

“They’re a great defensive-minded team,” BSU head coach Jim Stone said. “(Crookston head coach Joe Alianiello) does a great job getting them organized.

“I thought we created a lot of good opportunities, we just didn’t execute on any of them. Part of that was due to their defense. But Christine’s goal was a big one for us to finally break through.”

The Beavers outshot the Eagles 12-3 in the first half; only four of BSU’s shots were on-target but none of UMC’s found their way into the hands of BSU keeper Sonja Barr.

“It was frustrating,” Szurek said of the first half. “We were trying to be patient and work them down but their defense was good.”

In the second half, the Beavers kept pressing to try and put some distance between them and the Eagles, but nothing came of it.

BSU had just six shots in the second half but utilized the side of the field to get plenty of good runs at the net. Beaver midfielders were able to get plenty of crosses from the side of the field but couldn’t connect on any of them.

The Golden Eagles had their best chance to equalize late in the game. Their first corner kick came at the 72 minute mark but Barr leaped to make a save and neutralize the threat.

UMC’s Rachel Halligan also took a shot with under five minutes to go but couldn't get it past Barr.

Overall the Beavers outshot the Eagles 19-7; Barr made two saves for BSU while Gauger saved six shots for UMC.

“I thought we could have played a little better offensively,” Stone said. “It would have been nice if we could have gotten another goal or two for the crowd that came out to support us.

“But we’ll take the three points in the conference standings. It was a good win for us.”

The Beavers travel to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this weekend to take on Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan in nonconference action.

Bemidji State 1, Minnesota Crookston 0

UMC 0 0 — 0

BSU 1 0 — 1

First Half

1, B, Szurek (Lumberg), 41:56

Second Half

No Scoring

Match Stats UMC BSU

Shots (On Goal) 7 (2) 19 (7)

Saves: 6 2

Offsides 0 1

Corner Kicks 1 5

Fouls 7 9

Yellow Cards 0 0

Red Cards 0 0

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on Bemidji State but also covering area high schools. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
(218) 333-9772
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