As a reigning champion, it’s one thing to reach the top of the mountain; however, it is even harder to defend the title. This was the case Friday for the Minnesota State women’s soccer team after losing to Minot State Beavers in a shootout.
During regulation play, neither side generated any offense. The true stars of the game were the goalkeepers.
Senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Rath continued her dominant streak that has lasted all season. Even in defeat, the native of Pierre, South Dakota recorded her eleventh regular-season shutout to match her career high from last season. Head Coach Brian Bahl sang praise for her performance even after the defeat.
“She’s incredible, I think that she’s one of the best goalkeepers in all of Division II. She came up big when we needed her, and you really could not ask any more of her after that,” said Bahl.
As for the Beavers, they also had outstanding play from senior goalkeeper Maddie Kinnard, who stopped all eleven of the shots on goal and survived a lopsided 24-8 shot differential.
After regulation, both sides were unable to score. It required extra time which resulted in more outstanding defense and still no score from either side.
After going into the shootout, both sides sent out their best units to try and secure a spot in the NSIC finals. The Beavers jumped out early with two goals, but the Mavericks responded with two back-to-back scores. After scoring once more, Minot State scored two game-winners to end the Mavericks run and season.
After the loss, Coach Bahl credited the team for their performance.
“I think Minot is a very strong defensive team. They were good at making quality shots incredibly difficult, they have a strong goalkeeper and strong backline. I thought the first half they did a great job limiting us; second half we made some changes to get a flat foot. But in the end, it was just hard to execute and score,” Bahl said.
Although their NSIC defense was not successful, the team isn’t done yet. With a record of 14-1-5, they still have a chance competing in the NCAA tournament. As of this moment, all that the team can do is wait and find out if they will be in the 32-team gauntlet, and who their opponent will be.
Header Photo: The Minnesota State women’s soccer team played their final home game Friday. Jenny Vetter (above) was awarded the Outstanding Senior Award. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)
Write to Charlie Groebner at Charles.Groebner@mnsu.edu