After earning the program's first-ever NSIC Tournament championship last year, the Bemidji State women's soccer team captured its second consecutive conference tournament championship Sunday afternoon after shutting out University of Mary 2-0 in St. Cloud.
“(The big wins) are special in their own way, but this one is a little emotional because we had to really fight this fall,” head coach Jim Stone told the Bemidji Pioneer. “Things didn’t come easy for us. This group really persevered, and we had some tough moments. We lost a game 4-0 two weeks ago. I’m just really proud of these kids. I’m so happy for them.”
With the win, the Beavers earn the automatic bid into the NCAA DII Women's Soccer Central Region Tournament and await their opponent following the NCAA Tournament Selection Show airing Monday at 5:30 p.m. CT at NCAA.com.
Bemidji State used two first half goals and a shutout from junior goalkeeper Edie Frantzen with four saves to make its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and fifth overall in program history.
“We’ve really proven to everyone that it doesn’t matter who’s on the field. We can do what (this program) has done in the past,” sophomore forward Katrina Barthelt told the Pioneer. “We can create our own destiny, and that’s really exciting.”
The Beavers (12-3-6) took advantage of an early set-piece in the 15th minute when Maggie Cade sent a great ball into the box from a corner kick that eluded the Mary goalkeeper, and fifth-year senior Halle Peterson was there to clean up the play to put BSU up 1-0 with her fourth goal of the season, a career-high.
The Beavers struck again before the end of the first half when Cade forced a turnover in the Mary's defensive third and sent a pass forward to Barthelt, who showed the same finishing touch she has all season to score her 12th goal of the season and gain the crucial two-goal advantage.
BSU's defenses was too strong for the Marauders (10-8-3) as Frantzen and the Beavers turning aside all four shots including two in the second half to earn their second consecutive clean sheet and 10thof the season.
Bemidji State becomes the fifth team to earn back-to-back NSIC Tournament Championships.
Following the match, five Beavers were named to the All-NSIC Tournament Team including Barthelt, who was named the tournament Most Valuable Player. She was joined by Peterson, Frantzen, midfielder Maria Stocke and midfielder Lauren Hodny as All-Tournament players.