BEMIDJI -- For the first time this season, the Bemidji State soccer team had a chance to play in front its home fans. The Beavers did not let them go home empty handed.
BSU cruised to a 3-0 shutout victory over Minnesota Crookston in the team’s home opener Wednesday night at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Allanna Mattson and Rachael Norton tallied first-half goals and Monet Cairns added another in the second half for good measure to give the Beavers (2-0-0, 1-0-0 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) a victory in their first league contest of the season.
“I thought Crookston played really hard. I thought they were organized,” BSU head coach Jim Stone said. “I thought they were athletic and made us sweat. We took some steps forward with a few things. I thought that our offensive movement was a little bit better tonight and that has to keep improving here as we continue down this season.”
BSU had the majority of the scoring chances, outshooting the Golden Eagles (0-4-0, 0-1-0 NSIC) 12-2 in shots on goal.
It took until the 89th minute for the Beavers to score a winner in their 1-0 season-opening over Oklahoma Baptist last week. They didn’t have to wait anywhere near as long for their first goal Wednesday.
After spending the majority of the first quarter-hour in the Eagles’ half, Mattson fired a close-range shot from the edge of the 18-yard box that UMC goalie Olivia Puttin failed to corral as it trickled past her for the opening goal.
“We had a lot of energy,” Mattson said. “We finished with a lot of energy as well.”
Later in the half, Rachel Norton challenged for a loose ball after a challenge and powered it through traffic for her first goal of the season in the 31st minute.
The Beavers went to halftime with a comfortable 2-0 lead after outshooting the Eagles 10-3, including 4-1 in shots on target.
Senior goalkeeper Anna Fobbe saved the only shot on goal she faced in the first half. Sophomore Emma Riedi relieved her in net for the second half and saved the lone UMC shot of the final 45 minutes.
In the 85th minute, Erin Becker played the ball into the box on a cross that Monet Cairns buried easily for the one-timer goal. The strike gave the Beavers a 3-0 lead, which held for the final score.
A strong contingent of BSU students made their way out for the first home game with the official attendance coming in at 476.
“I think all the fans really helped with the energy,” Mattson said. “It was a lot of fun to play in front of such a big crowd.”
“It was a great atmosphere under the lights,” Stone added. “This is one of the greatest places to play on the lake. It’s just so unique. And when you get a crowd like that, I mean, our kids, they feel special when they play in front of a crowd like that.”
The BSU faithful will have another opportunity soon to see the team at the Chet. The Beavers will host Michigan Tech in a non-conference match at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.
Bemidji State vs. Minnesota Crookston
BSU 2 1 -- 3
UMC 0 0 -- 0
First half -- 1, BSU, Mattson (Peltier), 18’; 2, BSU, Norton (unassisted), 31’.
Second half -- 3, BSU, Cairns (Becker), 85’.