The Maverick soccer team lost a heartbreaker at home Sunday afternoon
The Maverick women’s soccer season has come to a close in dramatic fashion. Second-seeded Minnesota State lost in a shootout against the sixth-seeded Southwestern Oklahoma State University Bulldogs on Sunday at The Pitch in Mankato in the NCAA D-II Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Bulldogs are making their second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, while Minnesota State is appearing in the tournament for the 12th time in school history.
Morgan Cottew opened the scoring in the 26th minute for the Mavericks. Cottew scored her sixth goal of the season. Midfielder Jenny Hoerter tallied the assist in the goal, bringing her to a total of nine assists in her senior season.
The Bulldogs would answer with a goal of their own in the 57th minute, when Ashlyn Collier scored her second goal of the season on a pass from Erica Brunet.
The overtime period proved to be the chance to win it for the Mavericks, as they totaled four shots, with one on goal that was blocked, while Southwest Oklahoma State registered zero shot attempts in the overtime period.
The game then moved to a winner-take-all shootout. In goal for the Southwest Oklahoma State Bulldogs was the Paraguayan junior goalkeeper Steffi Silvera. Silvera, who was redshirted during the 2016 campaign, appeared in only seven games for the Bulldogs this season.
Junior goalkeeper Taylor Livermore was between the pipes for the Mavericks. Livermore has appeared in 13 games this season, while only allowing three goals on the year prior to Sunday’s contest.
Jenny Hoerter put the first shot in the back of the net for the Mavericks, giving them a 1-0 advantage.
Lauren Williams of SWOSU answered Hoerter’s call and put one behind Livermore, leveling the scoring at one apiece.
Alesha Duccini was unsuccessful from the spot, as she was stopped by Silvera.
Sarah Wilson capitalized on Duccini’s bad fortune and knocked another one past Livermore. The Bulldogs then had a 2-1 advantage.
Morgan Cottew was next in line and having already scored a goal in this game, felt confident about her chances in the shootout. Cottew bagged another goal to level the score at two.
Sandra Nabweteme was determined to push the Bulldogs forward, as she netted one beyond Livermore’s reach. The Bulldogs had a 3-2 advantage.
The bad fortune by Duccini must have rubbed off onto Molly Sarafolean, as she was also stopped by Silvera.
Alimata Rabo put the final nail in Minnesota State’s coffin, scoring the final goal of the game against Livermore.
Rabo’s goal advanced the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Central Region Championship for the first time in school history. No. 6 SWOSU now advances to take on No. 1 Central Missouri with a Central Regional Championship on the line.
Although the Mavericks’ season may be over, all is not entirely lost. The Mavericks did win the NSIC regular season and postseason championships this season. This trip to the NCAA Tournament also marked the Mavericks’ seventh-consecutive tournament appearance, and 12th overall.
In addition, six Mavericks were named to the 2017 NSIC Soccer All-Tournament Team. Junior goalkeeper Taylor Livermore, sophomore midfielder Alesha Duccini, sophomore forward Morgan Cottew, junior defender Abby Hausken, freshman forward Molly Sarafolean, and senior midfielder Lexi Pszanka were the six players named to the All-Tournament Team. Duccini was also named the NSIC Tournament MVP.
Junior midfielder Maddy Burandt, sophomore midfielder Alesha Duccini, senior forward Jenny Hoerter, and senior defender Abby Nordeen were all named to the 2017 NSIC Soccer All-Conference First Team as well. Junior defender Abby Hausken and senior midfielder Lexi Pszanka earned Second Team NSIC honors as well.
The Mavericks have a bright future ahead of them and should not be considered an easy out when it comes to the NCAA Tournament because of this loss. The Mavericks are only losing four players (midfielder Caitlin Foley, defender Abby Nordeen, midfielder Jenny Hoerter, and midfielder Lexi Pszanka) to graduation this year. Minnesota State finished the regular season tied for second in the nation in shutout percentage (.762) and shutouts (16), and fifth in goals against average (0.369). The Mavericks also set a school record this season of 11 consecutive shutouts, which tied the seventh-longest shutout streak in NCAA D-II women’s soccer history. The Mavericks are a young team and will only continue to improve over the course of the offseason.