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WOMEN’S SOCCER: Vetter header in 90th minute drops Bemidji State to 1-1 tie

The Beavers were seconds away from posting a statement win against No. 16 Minnesota State, a team that defeated then-No. 1 and two-time defending national champion Grand Valley State less than two weeks ago.

092122.S.BP.BSUWSOC Sara Wendt.jpg
Bemidji State fifth-year Sara Wendt (14) runs with the ball during the first half against Minnesota State on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- Ties aren’t supposed to feel like losses, but Friday’s draw certainly wasn’t the best-case scenario for the Bemidji State women’s soccer team.

“It’s always tough when you feel like you gave something away,” BSU head coach Jim Stone said. “You have it, and it just slips out of your hands. But credit to them. They put us under a lot of pressure. They caused us to crack just for a second.”

The Beavers were seconds away from posting a statement win against No. 16 Minnesota State, a team that defeated then-No. 1 and two-time defending national champion Grand Valley State less than two weeks ago. Instead, the Mavericks equalized on Jenny Vetter’s header in the 90th minute, resulting in a sour 1-1 tie for Bemidji State at Chet Anderson Stadium.

“You try to throw the frustration off,” Stone said. “Now, we know we can play with anyone in the country. We already felt like that, but now we know we can. It sets a high standard, and there are no excuses going forward now.”

BSU (3-1-2, 2-0-1 NSIC) was the better team for most of the match. The Beavers were the aggressor right away, and Allyson Smith nearly had a hat trick within the first two minutes.

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Perhaps that claim borders on hyperbolic, but Smith rocketed a shot just high, then pushed one just wide of the far post, and then forced the MSU keeper to make a diving save on another low ball -- all in the opening 118 seconds.

If nothing else, it proved that Bemidji State certainly came to play.

“It sets a tone for the rest of the season,” fifth-year forward Sara Wendt said. “We need to come out this hard against every team.”

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The Beavers celebrate after fifth-year Sara Wendt scored during the second half against Minnesota State on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Wendt ultimately did score for BSU in the 55th minute, hitting the side netting from just inside the box on a low roller. Erin Becker set her up with a perfect through ball, and Wendt connected on what seemed destined to become a game-winner.

“That moment was classic Sara Wendt,” Stone said. “She made a good run in, and Becker played a dime of a ball for a clinic finish. She’s been doing that for three or four years now, so it wasn’t surprising to see it in that moment.”

“I really owe it to my team,” Wendt added. “If we hadn’t won that ball, and if Erin hadn’t played the ball through, I wouldn’t have scored. That goal is 100% a team goal.”

But one more would have been monumental, because a lack of breathing room against a program like Minnesota State can often prove costly.

The Beavers had plenty of chances. Maria Stocke had a window to fire from close range but couldn’t direct the shot on target. Megan Dahl headed on a corner kick that struck the crossbar and sailed out of play. Becker blasted a trickling ball just high of the net.

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“That was another tough piece of the game,” Stone said. “We created some really great opportunities, but we only tucked one in.”

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Bemidji State senior goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh (1) jumps to deflect the ball during the first half against Minnesota State on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

The Mavericks (4-1-1, 2-0-1 NSIC) ramped up the pressure in the final 20 minutes. As steady rain started to descend on the pitch, the Beavers endured precipitation and opposing determination.

It looked like they were going to withstand every last push, but the final one eventually bit them.

First, Ashlyn Watt booted a high ball into the box from behind midfield. Vetter let it bounce, ran underneath it, then leapt up for a soft header that arched over Bemidji State keeper Alyssa Stumbaugh with 54 seconds remaining.

“It’s a little heartbreaking,” Wendt said. “Jenny Vetter is a very good player. She has all the honors for it. We just need to get better at a couple things, like holding in there. Yeah, it’s heartbreaking to tie, but we can’t really hang our heads on it. We have a lot of season left.”

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Bemidji State senior Maggie Cade (22) takes a corner kick during the first half against Minnesota State on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Stumbaugh ended the match with six saves. Mackenzie Rath had three for MSU.

Bemidji State will close the weekend by hosting Concordia-St. Paul at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18, back at the Chet.

Bemidji State 1, Minnesota State 1

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MSU 0 1 -- 1

BSU 0 1 -- 1

First half -- No scoring.

Second half -- 1, BSU GOAL, Wendt (Becker), 55’; 2, MSU GOAL, Vetter (Watt), 90’.

Saves -- Stumbaugh (BSU) 6; Rath (MSU) 3.

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Bemidji State sophomore Maria Stocke (21) fights for the ball during the first half against Minnesota State on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
092122.S.BP.BSUWSOC Megan Majewski.jpg
Bemidji State fifth-year Megan Majewski (24) goes for the ball during the second half against Minnesota State on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
092122.S.BP.BSUWSOC Lexi Larson.jpg
Bemidji State senior Lexi Larson (31) controls the ball during the first half against Minnesota State on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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