COLLEGE SOCCER: After thrilling OT win to get into tourney, BSU glad to get another shot at Minot State
BEMIDJI -- Going into the overtime period Sunday night against Minnesota Duluth, Christine Szurek said she didn't know all of the tiebreaker possibilities that would put her Bemidji State soccer team into the playoffs.
BEMIDJI - Going into the overtime period Sunday night against Minnesota Duluth, Christine Szurek said she didn’t know all of the tiebreaker possibilities that would put her Bemidji State soccer team into the playoffs.
But like the rest of the Beavers, she knew one scenario for certain - a goal would win the game and secure their spot in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament.
Any other result would leave it up to other teams and out of BSU’s hands.
“There were so many different options (for what could happen) coming out of that game,” Szurek said. “I know people were watching the stats of other games, but we just said to ourselves, ‘We need a win. That will guarantee it.’”
Five minutes into the extra period, Surek, with help from Bayley Ertl and Rachael Norton, guaranteed it. Her goal in the 95th minute of action gave BSU a 2-1 overtime win and secured them a spot in the NSIC tournament for the seventh consecutive season.
The Beavers, the No. 6 seed after a sixth-place finish in the league standings, will take on No. 3 Minot State at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Herb Packer Stadium in Minot, N.D.
The Beavers (11-6-1 overall) haven’t won an NSIC tournament game since 2010, but in the recent past they’ve played in close games - in the 2014 and 2012 tournaments they hit the road for the first round and lost a pair of 1-0 matches. In 2013 they fell to Minnesota Duluth 2-0.
Hillary Arechigo would like that to change this year. The Beavers lost to Minot State 4-1 earlier this season but the senior defender said they know the mistakes they made.
“We’ve gotten to the first round and lost every single time since I’ve been here,” she said. “We got out of character last time we played Minot. We were more focused on being physical because they like to be physical. We have to make sure we keep possession of the ball and just let them foul us.”
Minot (12-2-1) has allowed just 12 goals on the season (third in the NSIC), but they’re also the most physical team in the league - averaging 10.67 fouls a game. When they beat BSU on Sept. 20 in Bemidji they were whistled for 13.
BSU head coach Jim Stone said the Beavers will now know how to approach Minot this time around.
“They lead the league in fouls and we’re last in the league in fouls, so you have two contrasting philosophies,” Stone said. “The key for us is just being who we are and not get caught up in that stuff.”
The Beavers will also count on their defense, which has been reliable all season - especially in the past six games, where BSU has allowed just six goals (including two shutouts).
“Our defense has been pretty solid throughout the season,” Archigo said. “There’s been a couple games where teams have broken us down but for the most part we’ve been really good.”
A win Wednesday would advance BSU to the semifinals, where they will take on either No. 2 Augustana or No. 7 Southwest Minnesota State. Friday’s semifinals and Sunday’s championship will be held at the home field of the highest remaining seed. Minnesota State Mankato is the No. 1 seed on the other side of the bracket while Winona State grabbed the No. 4 seed.
The winner gets an automatic berth in the six-team NCAA Central Regional Tournament. The Beavers have never played in an NCAA tournament.