It took penalty kicks, but the Bemidji State University Women’s Soccer Team earned the program’s first ever NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament championship Friday evening as the Beavers defeated Emporia State University 3-1 in penalties.
At a snow-covered Chet Anderson Stadium and cold temperatures in the single digits, the Beavers (16-2-6) and Hornets (13-6-5) battled each other and the elements for a spot in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament.
Emporia State started strong in the game pushing play in its attacking half early in the game. The Beavers were able to drive down their half of the field and in the 19th minute, sophomore Maria Stocke sent a cross into the Hornets’ box that connected with Sara Wendt who fired the ball into the open net. With the goal, Wendt tied Rachel Norton for the program’s career goal scoring record with the pair each totaling 49 goals in their careers.
The Hornets kept pressuring looking for the equalizing goal before the end of the first half and out-shot BSU 12-8 in the first half. However, senior Alyssa Stumbaugh and the Beavers’ defense didn’t break and entered halftime with the one-goal lead.
Emporia State upped its pressure in the second half still looking for the equalizer. It finally broke through in the 78th minute when Mackenzie Dimarco made a defender miss and beat Stumbaugh from 25 yards out.
Neither team was able to take the lead in the remaining time and would need to play two overtime periods to decide a winner. However, 110 minutes wasn’t enough and after the second overtime horn sounded, the teams were still locked at 1-1.
A best-of-five penalty kick round would decide the winner and Stumbaugh would shine bright for the Beavers. She stopped three Hornet penalty kick attempts while Erin Becker, Wendt and Halle Peterson all made their shots to claim the 3-1 victory and send the Beavers to the program’s first ever Elite Eight.
Stumbaugh finished the game with 10 saves not including the three most important saves during the shootout.
Bemidji State will now face Midwest Regional Champion Ferris State University Sunday, Nov. 20 with a trip to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., at stake. The Beavers and Bulldogs will kick-off from Chet Anderson Stadium at 3:00 p.m.
Tune into our pregame coverage today beginning at 2:30 p.m. on 94.3 FM The Legends in Bemidji or online at www.beaverradionetwork.com.
Pregame interview with BSU Head Coach Jim Stone: Coach Interview
Pregame interview with Alyssa Stumbaugh: Player Interview