Soccer starting to gain momentum

This past weekend, the Minnesota State Mavericks soccer team hit the road to compete in back-to-back Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) games. The women ended the weekend with a split record having fallen to Bemidji State 3-1 and bouncing back for a 4-0 win over Minnesota Crookston. With the weekend in the books, the Mavs are now sitting on a 5-3-1 record and have won four out of their last five games.

Opening up the weekend was a road game in Bemidji to take on the Beavers. Bemidji State got off to a hot start and just under 14 minutes into regulation, the team got the first goal off a score from Bayley Ertl coming from an assist from Raquel Thelen. Before the first half ended the Beavers notched another goal, this time coming on an unassisted goal from Sarah Stram.

The majority of the second half happened without a score from either team. However, in the 77th minute the Mavericks were able to get their first score of the game when Alesha Duccini scored an unassisted goal to put the Mavs down by one.

Just over five minutes later, the Beavers struck once again which proved to be the final blow when Ertl hit her second goal of the game off an assist from Thelen and Rachel Norton. The Beavers earned the NSIC win 3-1.

The Mavericks’ Alexa Rabune took the loss at goalie with five saves. Minnesota State was able to out-shoot Bemidji State on goal 10-8.

“It’s obviously not fun to lose, but at the same time, I think it provided us with some learning opportunities that we are now able to build off of,” senior midfielder Kiana Nickel said.

The Mavericks didn’t take long to get back on their feet after slipping, as the next day they were able to shut out Minnesota Crookston in Crookston.

At the seven-minute mark it was Nickel that gave the Mavericks their first goal, and the goal that would ultimately give them the victory. Nickel played the ball from 30 yards and nailed the goal off an assist from Abby Hausken. Nickel got in on some assist action about six minutes later when she passed to Taylor Kenealy who scored to put Minnesota State up, 2-0.

Before the first half ended, the Mavericks kept piling up on their lead and Morgan Cottew hit a goal at the 36-minute mark coming off an assist from Kenealy to give the Mavs a 3-0 lead as the half winded down.

Not long after the second half started, it was Nickel once again who came up with some points and scored the Mavericks’ fourth goal of the game on a penalty kick. Her second goal of the game proved to be enough as the Mavericks got a 4-0 NSIC win.

“As a team, we rebounded well to come away with a 4-0 win on Sunday. It was fun to get out there and score some goals to help gain some confidence back,” Nickel said.

Goalie Ryann Rydeen started at goalie and was able to earn the shutout win for Minnesota State with her four saves. Rydeen has only started in two games this season and has posted a shutout victory in both.

Minnesota State had 11 shots on goal to Crookston’s four.

After a bit of a rocky start to the season, the Mavericks are starting to find their footing as they get ready to finish off the second half the season. Nickel seems confident that they are on the right track.

“We have won three of the past four games by a considerable amount so I think as a team, we are starting to come together more. There is still work to do in order to reach our full potential, but I think we are making our way,” explained Nickel.

The Mavericks will continue in NSIC play this weekend when they play a home game vs. Wayne State at 1 p.m., Friday, at The Pitch and then hit the road for an away game against Augustana at 1 p.m., Sunday, in Sioux Falls, S.D.

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