Mavericks and Bearcats meet in round one of the NCAA tournament

Coming off a brutal loss last weekend, the Minnesota State Mavericks are not finished yet. For the 11th straight year, the Mavericks qualify for the NCAA Division II tournament.

Enter the tournament as the number three seed, they will face off against the six seed the Northwest Missouri Bearcats this Friday at noon. The match will not be hosted at either team’s field per tournament rules, but will be played at a neutral site in Bemidji, Minn.

This will be the second time that the two schools will collide this season. The last time that these two teams met was back on Aug. 19 in an exhibition match. While there is no official record, The Mavericks would win the match 1-0. Three months later, they will play in the first round of the tournament and much higher stakes.

The person responsible for the team’s goal in that contents would be senior forward Jenny Vetter. Since that game, the Mankato native has been one of the main pieces to the Mavericks offense. Even for having to turn around quickly after a brutal loss, she isn’t hanging her head on the past with the match on the horizon.

“I think we’re in a good space. Obviously, it sucks to lose especially on our home turf. But I think we walked away knowing that we were still the better team, knowing that we created a lot of chances, and just analyzing afterwards that it came down to execution piece of it all. Now it is just refocusing heading into the NCAA tournament and not holding our heads too much.” said Vetter.

Like the Mavericks, the six seed Bearcats came up short in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association [MIAA] tournament. Now they look to rebound and try to go on a title run after a phenomenal 13-5-2 season.

One player to highlight is junior forward Kaylie Rock, who leads in both points and assists. Hailing from Lee’s Summit Mo. She is without a doubt the heart and soul of the Bearcats aggressive offense.

Even Vetter acknowledges that they had an excellent season as a team. However, that still will not change how they see them. Once the whistle blows, its winner moves on and loser goes home.

“They had a good season if I am being honest. We played them in an exhibition match which wasn’t official, but there a good team and solid. I think that the pose an interesting matchup since we have already played them this season. I think that they will be a tough opponent, but we will be looking to come out strong and win,” said Vetter.

Header Photo: The Minnesota State Women’s Soccer team will play Friday at 12 p.m. in Bemidji, Minn. where they play against Northwest Missouri State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Charlie Groebner at Charles.Groebner@mnsu.edu

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