The Minnesota State Mavericks soccer team competed in the second round of the NCAA Central Regional Tournament this past weekend and saw their season end in dramatic fashion. After a game that saw three overtime periods, there still was not a winner. The game then went into a shootout where the Mavericks fell and ended their incredible season.
On Sunday, the Minnesota State Mavericks hosted the Fort Hays State at The Pitch. FHS had just come off of a dominating 3-1 win over Harding on Friday and were ready to roll against a Mavericks team that had gained a lot of momentum since the start of the season.
Both teams brought their best defensive play with them as the entire first half came without a score from either team. A burst of offensive explosiveness was unloaded in the second half, as the Mavericks were the first team to unload.
Senior Dana Savino gave Minnesota State their first score of the game off an assist from fellow senior Kiana Nickel. However, the lead was short lived as just over a minute later Fort Hays State fired back with an unassisted goal by Regan Lawler. Five minutes later, Tigers’ Silvana Romero drilled one in off an assist from Dani Harris to give them a 2-1 lead.
Some familiar faces made a return though, and just about 78 minutes into the game Savino scored her second goal off assists from senior Maddy Smith and Nickel. The rest of the second half turned back into a defensive fight, as neither team managed to get the go-ahead score to tie things up at 2-2.
“Dana’s a rock; she has been all the way through these past four years. That entire group of three seniors is very special. That’s the first group I’ve been with for four years at MSU,” head coach Brian Bahl told Minnesota State Athletics.
The game went through a whopping three overtime periods. In the entirety of all three, the Mavericks only made five shots while holding Fort Hays State to one. With the three overtime periods resulting in no scores, the game had to be decided by a shootout. The Mavericks didn’t have enough firepower left in them and Fort Hays won the shootout 4-2 to allow them to advance in the tournament.
“I’m just so proud of them. I think that game epitomized what we’ve been through this whole year. A couple of big injuries in this game and having to fight and claw,” Bahl told Minnesota State Athletics.
Minnesota State’s freshman goalkeeper Ryann Rydeen started the game and made three saves, while red-shirted freshman goalkeeper Alexa Rabune took the loss with two saves. Fort Hays State outshot Minnesota State 7-6.
With that, the Minnesota State soccer season is now behind them. The team finished with an overall record of 16-3-3 while going 12-2-1 in the NSIC. The Mavericks committee of goalkeepers in Rabune, Rydeen, and red-shirted sophomore Taylor Livermore held it down for the squad and boasted an amazing 15 shutouts on the year. Rydeen and Rabune had six each while Livermore had four.
Leading the way in scoring for the 2016 campaign was the duo of sophomore Morgan Cottew and Nickel. Cottew led the team with 36 points off of 15 goals and six assists. Nickel posted 26 points off of eight goals and 10 assists. Nickel is now the all-time assists leader in MNSU’s history. Both women will be missed in future seasons.
The future is in good hands though, as freshman Alesha Duccini ended the year as the third top scorer on the team. Duccini ended with 22 points off of eight goals and six assists. Duccini could end up being a pivotal member of the team in future years so keep an eye on her.