Maverick soccer captures first NSIC title since 2015

Strong defense and timely goals has carried the team to a 15-21 record

The Minnesota State Maverick women’s soccer team won both of their games this past weekend to clinch the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) regular season title, after defeating Winona State Sunday afternoon at The Pitch.

The Mavericks (15-2-1, 13-1-1 NSIC) earned the NSIC regular season title for the fifth time in the program’s history, and for the first time since 2015.

On Friday, the Mavericks met their first opponent of the weekend, where they made the trip down to Fayette, Iowa to take on the Upper Iowa Peacocks. No. 20 Minnesota State scored two second-half goals, after trailing the Peacocks 1-0 at the half. Junior forward Lauren Kizlik scored the Mavericks’ first goal of the game, her fifth goal of the season, to tie the match in the 74th minute of the game.

Junior midfielder Maddy Burandt captured the game-winning goal later on in the half, scoring in the 83rd minute of the game. Alesha Duccini tallied an assist on the play. Minnesota State outshot their opponent 24-3, as they stomped on the Peacocks, 2-1.

The team would later travel back home to their old stomping grounds, The Pitch, on Sunday to play the Winona State Warriors on Senior Day. This was their final regular season game heading into the NSIC tournament, as they looked to capture not only the NSIC title, but a first seed heading into the tournament.

Minnesota State, which has had 14 different players on their squad on the year score a goal, received goals from four different players once again on the afternoon. Sophomore midfielder Duccini scored the first Minnesota State goal on the day in the 3rd minute of the match to give the Mavericks the early lead. Junior forward Marisa Berutti would later follow up Duccini’s goal, tallying her first goal on the year in the 17th minute of the game. The Mavericks at this point held a commanding 2-0 lead over the Warriors (9-6-1, 8-6-1 NSIC) at the break.

The Mavericks would later tack on two more goals in the second half, and held the Warriors to a scoreless affair, defeating them by a score of 4-0. Senior midfielder Lexi Pszanka scored her fifth of the season in the 62nd minute, and junior forward Lauren Kizlik added her sixth goal of 2017 in the 66th minute of the game. Senior midfielder Jenny Hoerter tallied two assists on the day, while junior forward Morgan Cottew and Kizlik each contributed one helper. Junior goalkeeper Taylor Livermore (8-1-0) made four saves for the Mavericks and Rachel Oleson (9-8-1) stopped eight shots for the Warriors.

Head coach Brian Bahl was quite proud of his team’s performances this weekend.

“Just a real gutty effort out there [on the field]. We could’ve easily a week or two ago thrown in the towel… This team decided to do the exact opposite of that,” Bahl said. “The team stayed positive and played well in a big way when the opportunity was presented to them… Really proud of the player’s effort out there, and the team’s mentality to stay poised and focused.”

Minnesota State outshot their opponent on Sunday 28-10, including a 12-4 advantage in shots on goal. There was a lot to celebrate for the Mavericks throughout the day. Along with celebrating their win, senior day was held prior to Sunday’s match. Livermore, Berutti, Caitlin Foley, Kizlik, Abby Nordeen, Maddy Burandt, Hoerter and Pszanka were all recognized for their contributions and efforts to the Minnesota State soccer program. It was a celebratory day for the squad.

Minnesota State captured the top seed in the 2017 NSIC Soccer Tournament and will host No. 8 Minnesota Duluth in an opening-round match at 1:00 p.m., on Wednesday Nov. 1 at The Pitch.

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