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Playoff time: Bemidji State soccer open NSIC tourney with St. Cloud State

Madeline Pletta and the Bemidji State soccer team open the NSIC Conference Tournament today at St. Cloud State. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji State soccer team opens postseason play in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament Wednesday at St. Cloud State.

The game will be played at 7 p.m. at Husky Stadium.

The top eight teams in the conference qualify for the single-elimination tournament and Bemidji finished the regular season sixth in the NSIC with a 7-5-1 conference record and a 11-6-1 overall record.

St. Cloud State finished third with a record of 9-2-2 in conference play and 10-4-4 overall.

BSU and St. Cloud State met only once during the regular season.

St. Cloud State won that game in the wind, ice and snow 2-1 at BSU Soccer Field.

Alexandra Pafko scored the winner for SCSU in the 68th minute in that game. It was a game where SCSU goalie Elizabeth Kelly was only forced to make one save.

Bemidji State can equal a school record for victories by beating St. Cloud State today.

Bemidji State has advanced to postseason play for the seventh time in school history and for the fifth time under head coach Jim Stone.

Bemidji State was a bubble team until last weekend. The Beavers secured a postseason berth by defeating Augustana 3-2 in overtime in the snow and Wayne State 1-0.

Bemidji State has enjoyed success this season behind the scoring power of Ashlee Ellefsen, the defense and goalie Samantha Ross.

Ellefsen is Bemidji State's primary offensive weapon with a team-leading 13 goals and seven assists. She ranks second in conference goals and points.

Brianna Duff is second on the team with seven goals and five assists.

The Beavers have also enjoyed offensive production from Yesenia Garcia and Kirsten Erickson, who each have three goals and six assists.

Ross has started 14 games and has earned the winning decision in seven games this year, allowing less than one goal per game on average. Her save percentage is .867.

The winner of Wednesday's game advances to Friday's semifinal round against the winner of No. 7 Northern State and No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth.

In other quarterfinal matchups Wednesday, No. 1 Winona State hosts No. 8 Concordia-St. Paul and No. 4 Minnesota State, Mankato hosts No. 8 Mary.