The Minnesota State women’s soccer team is back in action for the NCAA Tournament First Round against the University of Central Missouri Friday.
Last time out for the Mavericks was a 2-1 defeat to Concordia University, St. Paul in the NSIC Tournament Quarterfinals.
The Mavs’ defeat to Concordia-St. Paul was the school’s first loss in the NSIC Tournament prior to the Semifinals.
“Our goal every year is to win that conference tournament championship, and it’s the first time we’ve ever not played in at least a semifinals. It was a tough few days, but we got together as a team and just hit a reset button and talked through some things, and I think got our minds back to where it needed to be so that we can be ready for the NCAA Tournament,” said head coach Brian Bahl.
The Mavs’ game against Concordia-St. Paul saw the Golden Bears score two goals from outside the penalty box, the Mavs score a penalty kick and had several stoppages due to fouls and the ball hitting the wires in the Maverick All-Sports Dome.
Despite the defeat, Bahl thinks his team played well, and that the game was somewhat of a microcosm of the team’s season.
“I think overall we played pretty well. Our whole season has been very similar to that game, where I thought we were the better team, we played well, we just didn’t capitalize on some chances that we probably should have capitalized on. They got limited looks and they were able to capitalize on those limited looks. Soccer can be that way sometimes,” Bahl said.
The Mavs are “past that” result against the Golden Bears, and are looking to be the best version of themselves against Central Missouri.
“We’re just such a young group, we’re just trying to find ourselves, and who we’re going to be that particular week. Our hope is that this week, we’re going to get into that game and we’re going to be the best that we’ve been yet, and that’s always the goal each week. We’ve had to endure some tough moments with this group this season, but they’ve been very resilient,” Bahl said.
The Mavs defeated Central Missouri 1-0 in their first meeting this season thanks to a 90th minute goal by Avery Korsching Sep. 8. The game had 17 fouls and Bahl is expecting the second matchup between the two teams to be similar in terms of physicality.
“It’s become a rival over the years. We’ve never beat them at their place, they’ve never beat us at our place. We’ve never played at a neutral site, so we’ll see how that goes. They’re fast, physical and they’re good. Our first game against them could have went either way, but we really did a good job in that game of keeping our composure and staying focused and we battled every step of the way with them,” Bahl said.
Bahl wants to see toughness from his team when they go to Topeka, Kansas and take the field at Yager Stadium.
“I just want to see toughness and fight and effort through the roof. I just want to see us compete at a level that we haven’t yet competed at this year. It takes a different level once you get to the NCAA Tournament to move on. So I just want to see us go battle and fight and be really competitive and let the chips fall where they may,” Bahl said.
Header Photo: Joining the Mavericks in NCAA tournament play are NSIC opponents  St. Cloud State and NSIC Tournament Champions  Bemidji State as they match up against one another in first-round action. (Dalton Grubb/The Reporter)
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