Bemidji, Minn. – Senior goalkeeper Abby Kjonaas (Fargo, N.D.) set career-highs in saves, shots faced and matched a career-high in minutes played Saturday afternoon, helping the Bemidji State University soccer team to a scoreless tie with Minnesota State University, Mankato in BSU's First Annual Cheryl Smyth Memorial Game. Kjonaas finished the game with 19 saves, 41 shots faced and played all 110 minutes.
Kjonaas nearly matched her career mark for saves in a game after just 45 minutes of play, turning away 11 Maverick shots on goal. MSU would pepper six more in the second half and two more in the second overtime period, but Kjonaas would come up strong with many solid saves to keep the Beavers in the game.
The Beavers had a tough hill to climb against the formidable Maverick squad. Coming into the game the Mavericks were undefeated in Northern Sun Intercollegaite Conference (NSIC) play and had outscored opponents 31-2 in 11 conference games. The Mavericks' leading scorer Brittany Henry leads the NSIC in points, shots, goals scored, and game winning goals, but the Beaver defense neutralized her, holding her to just two shots on goal.
Kirsten Erickson (Sr., F, Coon Rapids, Minn.) had a good scoring chance in the second half for the Beavers after sneaking behind the defense, but never got a solid foot on the bouncing ball and sent it just wide.
The Beavers would get another strong chance in the second overtime period, when sophomore forward Jessie Voeller (White Bear Lake, Minn.) had a break away in the waning minutes. Voeller crossed a pass as the goalkeeper challenged her, but the pass was just off and the Beavers never got a shot.
The Beavers would only muster six shots on target, with all getting turned away by Maverick keeper Molly McGough. The tie makes McGough’s record 12-1-2 on the season with eight clean sheets. Kjonaas is now 5-5-3 with six shutouts.
Today's Cheryl Smyth Memorial Game was a part of Bemidji State's "Think Pink" weekend for cancer awareness. Cheryl Smith, the late mother of former BSU soccer player and current student Kara Smyth, lost her battle with lung cancer last year. In addition to members of the team wearing pink warm up gear and ribbons in their hair in her memory, donations were taken for the American Cancer Society.
The Beavers will be back on the pitch Sunday afternoon when Southwest Minnesota State University comes to town. It will be senior day at the BSU Soccer Complex, with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.