With less than three minutes remaining in a 0-0 game Thursday night, the Bemidji State soccer team pulled out another stylish finish, scoring a game-winning goal with overtime looming for a 1-0 victory over St. Cloud State University.
It took both teams a few minutes to find each others respective grooves because the rain that had been covering the BSU Soccer Field throughout the day had made the field slippery and hard to find sure footing. There was only a slight drizzle for parts of the first half, but midway through the second was when the skys really began to open up.
As the rain continued to pound the two teams, no one could seem to get any breaks. Numerous passes and crosses were not being finished because the ball was so slick and hard to control.
The closest either school came to scoring was when Jamie Ford (So., Edina, Minn.) found the net in the 83rd minute, only to be denied by an offsides call by the referee.
Then came the break the Beavers were waiting for. In the 87th minute, the Huskies were called for a foul deep in their territory, giving BSU a free kick near the SCSU net. The defense was set up, and Kara Smyth (Fr., Cary, Ill.) and Ashlee Ellefsen (Fr., Hugo, Minn.) were ready to start the play on the right side of the net. There were four defenders in front of her, with the rest of the players to the left of and in front of the net.
BSU coach Jim Stone and the Beaver bench noticed there was no defender covering the right side of the net. Luckily for Bemidji State, Smyth and Ellefsen noticed it, too.
Ellefsen ran to the vacated spot in the defense before the play began, and Smyth passed the free kick over to her. Ellefsen made one dribble and proceeded to knock the ball past the Huskie goalkeeper with only 2:23 remaining.
St. Cloud State (1-2-0) was unable to find the net in the final two minutes, and Bemidji State (2-2-1) has now won its last two home contests and two of its last three.
“Kara made a good decision on that play and it paid off for us,” Stone said. “It was a great finish by Ashlee off the far post. She had a great game, not just that one play.”
Ellefsen finished the contest with five shots, two on goal, with the game-winning goal. She now has two points on the season after scoring her first collegiate goal. Smyth improved her point total to four, just behind team leader Danielle Uphoff (So., Brainerd, Minn.), who is leading the way with five.
“One nice thing about the way we’ve been winning lately is that we’re not getting goals where we know they are going to eventually come from,” Stone said. “Other people are stepping up when we need them to. This was definitely a team win for us tonight.”
BSU goalkeeper Jessica Meath (Jr., Bethel, Minn.) was recently named last week’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
How did she respond to earning the award? She played the entire game in net, and never gave up a goal while collecting four saves. St. Cloud State goalkeeper Elizabeth Kelly also played the whole 90 minutes, but gave up the deciding goal while adding six saves.
Bemidji State outshot SCSU 23-8 in the game, and five Beavers had at least three shots.
BSU gets a day of rest and then will begin conference play Saturday with a 12 p.m. matchup at Minnesota State University, Moorhead.