Sara Wendt scored her 18th goal of the season to give the Bemidji State University soccer team all the offense it needed to punch its ticket to the NSIC Tournament Championship match for the first time in program history. Goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh made a career-high eight stops to preserve the 1-0 shutout victory over Concordia University-St. Paul.
Bemidji State improves to 18-0-2 with the victory to match a program record for wins in a season and extends its program-record unbeaten streak to 23 matches (21-0-2).
BSU opened the match with a handful of scoring chances and near misses including a bullet off the foot of Ally Smith and rung off the crossbar in the 21st minute but despite a 7-4 edge in shots the Beavers and Golden Bears were locked in a scoreless tie at halftime.
As the second half got underway, BSU again controlled play. In the 54th minute, the Beavers worked the ball up the center of the pitch, and when NSIC Freshman of the Year Mason Schilling pushed the ball to the center of the box, Wendt found the CSP goalkeeper out of position and used her left foot to find the back of the net to break the deadlock. The goal was her league-leading 18th of the season. From there, BSU leaned on its goalkeeper. Stumbaugh has not been tested often over the last seven matches but stood tall when her team needed her Friday. Since Oct. 22, the junior has stopped all 20 shots on goal she has faced, which included eight Friday. She enters the NSIC Championship riding a seven-match shutout streak that spans 543:54 to sit just 10 seconds short of a BSU record. She improves 16-0-1 on the season.
The Beavers entered the 2021 semifinal without a win in their five previous semifinal appearances, but broke through Friday and will battle for the NSIC Tournament Championship trophy and an automatic bid into the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Top-seeded Bemidji State will face Minnesota State University in Sunday’s championship. The Mavericks defeated Augustana University 4-0 in the first semifinal match of the afternoon. The Beavers and MSU will face off at 1 p.m. at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Tune into our pregame coverage today beginning at 12:30 p.m. on 94.3 FM The Legends in Bemidji or online at www.beaverradionetwork.com.