WOMEN’S SOCCER: Beavers win playoff opener behind inspired set-piece heroics
No. 21 Bemidji State defeated U-Mary 1-0 on Monday, opening its NSIC Tournament run with a quarterfinal victory at Chet Anderson Stadium. And the defining moment came on Halle Peterson’s creative set-piece goal, which was only drawn up in practice the day prior.
BEMIDJI -- Inspiration struck. One day later, so did Halle Peterson.
The No. 21 Bemidji State women’s soccer team defeated U-Mary 1-0 on Monday, opening its NSIC Tournament run with a quarterfinal victory at Chet Anderson Stadium. And the defining moment came on Peterson’s creative set-piece goal, which was only drawn up in practice the day prior.
“Juice saw a video,” Peterson said, referencing the assist-earning Megan Majewski. “It was basically a little tap, turn and shoot. We mixed it up a little bit and added some more elements. … It was the whole team putting their brains together and coming up with something fun.”
The video in question originated from Instagram, where the Penn State women’s soccer team had pulled off the original version of the set-piece strike and galvanized the Beavers to make it their own.
They spent about five minutes rehearsing it during Sunday’s practice. And it just won them a playoff game.
“I try to have open ears,” BSU head coach Jim Stone said. “Sometimes they bring some great stuff like that. … All credit to them. They brought that my way. We put it in place and made a little tweak with it, and it worked out.”
It went down like this: In the 61st minute, Allyson Smith won Bemidji State (12-2-5) a free kick 25 yards from the net. Majewski and Maria Stocke stood with their backs to the goal, blocking the defense from getting a good look at Maggie Cade as she acted like she was the one winding up for the shot.
But Majewski flicked a soft tapper to the nearby Peterson as the unsuspecting Marauder defense tried to adjust. Peterson’s hard shot hit off a defender, took a bounce and deflected right into the corner of the net.
“It’s not always your leading goal scorer who ends up being the hero. I think we saw that tonight,” Stone said. “It takes everyone on the roster to defend, but it also takes everyone on the roster to score. Whether you’re a defender or our center forward, we want you to have that drive towards goal, and Halle has that.”
The goal stands as Peterson’s first of the season and is her first career game-winning goal.
How did Halle Peterson (@hallepeterson_) & @BSUBeaverSoccer soccer draw up the lone goal in tonight's NSIC Tourney Quarterfinal win vs UMary?— Chaz Mootz (@ChazMootzTV) November 1, 2022
The idea came from a TikTok video, which BSU then added their own flair to in practice yesterday. The end result spoke for itself: pic.twitter.com/j6wUCbYMWY
It was certain to hold up for the rest of the night, as seventh-seeded U-Mary (10-5-4) didn’t register a single shot on target. That defensive effort is what Peterson is most proud of -- though she’ll certainly take the goal to boot.
“I take a lot of pride in our shutouts,” she said. “But, I mean, it’s pretty awesome scoring too.”
The first half was a scoreless one, but the Beavers turned on the jets out of the locker room. Though the first hour-plus played out as a 0-0 draw, it largely seemed like BSU was in control of the match. That was further evidenced once the scoreboard caught up.
“We’ve really improved and learned this season to control the game and slow it down when we’re up 1-0 -- especially in an important game like this, where we need to kill the time,” Peterson said. “We’ve really learned, ‘Let’s control it, let’s possess it and not give them the ball so they can’t even counter us.’”
With Monday’s win, second-seeded Bemidji State advances to the NSIC Tournament semifinals and will face third-seeded Augustana at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, in Mankato.
In their lone matchup of the regular season, the Beavers beat the Vikings 1-0 on Sept. 23 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“There would be no step two if we didn’t get it done tonight. It was that ‘one day at a time’ approach,” Stone said. “Obviously our next step is going to be really challenging. Augustana is just a terrific program and extremely well coached. And they’re peaking. It’s setting itself up to be a great game.”
Bemidji State 1, U-Mary 0
U-M 0 0 -- 0
BSU 0 1 -- 1
First half -- No scoring.
Second half -- BSU GOAL, Peterson (Majewski), 61’.
Saves -- Harber (BSU) 0; Waltman (U-M) 5.